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Autobiography - - - - i 

D'ye ken John Peel ? - - - 14 

Monody on John Peel - - - - 16 

O give me back my native hills - - 18 

Nursery Song - - - - 20 


Biographical Sketch - - - 22 

The Ship-Boy's Letter - - - - 34 

Robin's Return - - - - 36 

The Warder's Daughter - - - 39 

Ruby ----- 43 

Lily Graeme - - - - - 44 

The Towing Rope - - - - 46 

The Children's Kingdom - - - 47 

Olaf s Last Cruise - - - - 49 

A Midsummer Shadow - - - - 5^ 

" Aux Armes Citoyens !" - - - S3 


A Sailor's Life - - - - 54 

Leslie Gray " " " " 55 


Critical Notice - - - - 57 

Lai Dinah Grayson - - • 71 

Nature's Church - - - "74 

Jwohnny, git oot ! - - • • 77 

The Runaway Wedding - - - - 79 

•'Breeay Saint Bees" - - - 82 

BUly Watson' Lonning - - • -85 

Mary Ray an' me - - - - 88 

Cursty Benn - - - - - 90 


Biographical Sketch - - - 94 

The Slaver in the Solway - - "97 

The Lady of Workington Hall - - loi 

The Chimes of Kirksanton - - - 105 

Hart's-Hom Tree - . - - 109 


Biographical Sketch - - -113 

Auld Gran'fadder Jones - - - 141 

T' Auld Man - - - - - 142 

Lile Polly - - - - 143 

Little Jane - - - - ■ ^'iS 

I stand beside thy lonely grave - - 147 

Childhood - - - - - I49 




Resignation .... 152 

The Old Man and the Children - - - I55 


A Grummel or a Grean - - - 158 

"It's nobbut me!" - - - - 160 

What t' Wind sed - - - - 162 

Jobby Dixon - - - . . 163 

T' Woefii' Partin' - - - - 165 

This Love's a Curious Thing - - - 167 

A Cummerland Dream - - - 169 

What use' to be Lang Sen - - - 171 

" Git ower me 'at can" - - - 174 


"The White Ladye" - - - .177 

Master William - - - . jgg 


Laal Bobby Linton - - . . 194 

The Ore Carter's Wife - - - 196 

The Words of oald Cummerlan' - - - 199 


Ardenlee - - - - 201 

The aidd Spinning Wheel - - - 203 

The Bridal E'en - - . . 205 

My heart sinks wi' yon setting sun - - 206 




A queerish mak iv a Dream.—Anofi. - - 209 

Barbary Gray. — William Bowness. - - 213 

Oh ! list ye to yon singing bird. — yaines Hale. - 216 

The Feathers of the Willow. — R. W. Dixon. - 217 

Glossary - - - - 219 



Y life has been so erratic and so singularly- 
varied by unprecedented events that a 
volume of considerable compass might be 
filled to excite wonder, laughter, tears, or the deepest 
sorrow. It would be vain, however, to attempt any- 
such task, as the space allowed will only admit of 
fragmentary portions or the barest outline. 

My great grandfatlier,. John Graves, lived and 
died a man of some property at Hesket-Newmarket. 
I never heard much of my grandfather, John Wood- 
cock, but know that he had two sons and a 
daughter. My father's name was Joseph. He 
was a plumber, glazier, and ironmonger at Wigton ; 
and married Ann the seventh daughter of Thomas 
Matthews of the same place. I was the only son 
of the issue, and my mother used to tell very pre- 
cisely that I was born at eight o'clock on the 
morning of the 9th of February, 1795,* and chris- 

* I think I am correct with the year ; but how far this is so 
may be seen at Wigton Church. 

III. 1 

2 jfohii Woodcock Graves. 

tened in the same mantle as was Count Henry 
Jerome De Salis. 

When six or seven years old I lived at Cocker- 
mouth with my uncle George. We boarded at an 
inn kept by his aunt, a widow, and I was sent to 
school, where I learned to read and cipher. When 
nine years old my father died, and we went to 
Wigton to attend the funeral, which I did not see 
as I was off at the time pla)ang at marbles with my 
cousins. There I remained, and was sent to school 
in a " Clay Daubin" in a back yard. I passed 
through arithmetic, and could excel my teacher in 
writing. I think this is all the school teaching I 
ever had. My mother strove to make my father 
"an honest man" by paying his debts when he was 
dead; saying, " I was his wife, and by that compact 
am responsible ; though God knows that while I 
was saving he was spending." Widowed, helpless, 
and in debt, she walked to Carlisle to administer, 
but was told that she must have witness to the 
intestate effects ; so her first journey to the county 
town was in vain. 

About the age of fourteen I took off again to my 
uncle at Cockermouth, and remained with him till 
I was twenty. He was a house, sign, and coach 
painter, but rarely taught me anything. His wife 
and he kept a bathing hotel at Skinburness, which 
occupied a good deal of their time. He had a 
clever foreman, for whom I cared nothing; so I 
frequently went a-hunting with the hounds of Joseph 

yohn Woodcock Graves. 3 

Steel, Esq. An old bachelor, whose name was 
Joseph Faulder, and his sister lived opposite ; and 
to that man I owe anything good I have done or 
know. I spent every spare moment ^vith this old 
pair. Mary, his sister, was a kind old woman, but 
occasionally took drink. Joe was most abstemious, 
and retired as a hermit. He lived a hundred years 
too soon. He was John Daltgn's"'-' intimate friend; 
and I could now pourtray them shaking hands, such 
a thrilling effect did their meeting produce on my 
young mind. Whenever I look back on what I 
have read and seen through life I cannot find a 
single man to compare to my old mentor. Dear 
amiable Joe Faulder ! he fixed in me a love of 
Truth, and bent my purpose to pursue it, guarding 
me against having my mind weakened by the false 
theories or superstitions which would inevitably 
arise around my walk in life. 

My uncle declining business at Cockermouth, I 
felt a strong desire to go to France, Italy, &c. I 
had often talked with Joe about painters and sculp- 
tors ; so I thought I would work, travel, and learn. 
I had made some drawings : and as he had taught 
me a little of comparative anatomy — grace — the 
line of beauty — that nature must always be our 
great guide — that copies from others are odious 
even in excellence — I was determined to strike out 

*John Dalton, the celebrated mathematician and natural 
philosopher : bom at Eaglesfield, near Cockermouth, 1 766 ; 
died, 1844. 

4 John Woodcock Graves. 

a path for myself on general principles, and to 
receive nothing as correct until I had learned, as 
Euclid phrases it, not oily that the thing was true, 
but why it was so. \\"\\h my box on board at 
Skinburness to go to Liverpool, I went to Wigton 
on foot to bid farewell to my mother and sisters ; 
but my friends pressed me so much to remain that 
I finally yielded much against my will. I was not 
long in Wigton before I was introduced to Miss 
Jane Atkinson of Rosley, whom I married. She 
only lived about twelve months after, and I was left 
to retirement in the house we had taken on Market- 
hill, Wigton. 

I had a friend named Walter Simpson who was a 
very superior young man. We spent days and 
nights together ; were subscribers to a library ; 
and thus read, studied, and experimented. So the 
time passed for four or five years, when I thought 
I would marry a neighbour's daughter, whom I had 
known from childhood. I was daily in her father's 
house. One evening I had staid late reading in the 
parlour. She was sewing ; the rest of the family 
had retired. After asking what o'clock it was, I 
laid down the paper and placing my arms on the 
table, said to her, " Miss Porthouse, I have been 
thinking for some time of putting a question to you." 
"And pray," asked she, "what kind of a question 
is it? A foolish one, I'll warrant." "I've been 
thinking," said I, "of proposing marriage to you !" 
She started, looked me sternly in the face, then 

yohn Woodcock Graves. 5 

without a single word snatched up the lighted 
candle, and indignantly stalked away — up stairs — 
and slammed the door to. However, we were 
married afterwards, and have had eight children. I 
married her because I thought she possessed a 
strong mind and mild temper;*' but, to tell the 
truth, I cannot say that we were by any means 
happily mated. She was as tall, or nearly, so as 
myself, exceedingly graceful in her deportment, 
and of good education. She could not be called a 
beauty, yet to a stranger there was that which won 
esteem in preference to beauty. Her friends were 
ardently attached to her, while her parents and 
the rest of the family stood in awe of her as the 
superior mind. 

I was connected with the woollen mills at Cald- 
beck for some time ; but these turned out a ruinous 
game. I was cheated, robbed, and galled to such 
an extent, by those who ought to have been my 
best friends, that I resolved to go to the farthest 
corner of the earth. I made a wreck of all; left 
machinery, book-debts, &c., in the hands of a 
relative, to provide for my two dear daughters 
whom I left behind ; and landed in Hobart Town, 
Tasmania, in 1833, with my wife and four children, 
and about ;^io in my pocket. I cannot now begin 
an endless narrative of my travelling, voyaging, and 

* Samuel Jefferson, author of the "History of Carhsle," 
and other local works of interest, married a sister to the Miss 
Porthouse above mentioned. 

6 John Woodcock Graves. 

adventures in these distant colonies ; otherwise I 
could relate sufficient strange incidents to fill at 
least an ordinary octavo volume. 

In stature I am about the middle height, straight, 
proportionate and of lithesome gait. I used to be 
called " lish," with a temper inclined to merriment, 
which has floated me over many woes ; but, alas ! 
how often have I thought that my poor mother's 
Jerome mantle ought to have been my shroud ! I 
have frequently been called inventive, and during 
late years have brought to considerable perfection 
several machines — especially one for preparing the 
New Zealand flax. 

Nearly forty years have now wasted away since 
John Peel and I sat in a snug parlour at Caldbeck 
among the Cumbrian mountains. We were then 
both in the hey-day of manhood, and hunters of 
the olden fashion ; meeting the night before to 
arrange earth stopping; and in the morning to take 
the best part of the hunt — the drag over the moun- 
tains in the mist — while fashionable hunters still 
lay in the blankets. Large flakes of snow fell that 
evening. We sat by the fireside hunting over again 
many a good run, and recalling the feats of each 
particular hound, or narrow neck-break '.scapes, when 
a flaxen-haired daughter of mine came in saying, 
" Father, what do they say to what granny sings T 
Granny was singing to sleep my eldest son— now a 
leading barrister in Hobart Town — with an old rant 

John Woodcock Graves. 7 

called Bonnie Aniiie. The pen and ink for hunting 
appointments being on the table, the idea of writing 
a song to this old air forced itself upon me, and 
thus was produced, impromptu, D'ye ken John Peel 
with his coat so gray? Immediately after I sung it 
to poor Peel, who smiled through a stream of tears 
which fell down his manly cheeks ; and I well 
remember saying to him in a joking style, " By 
Jove, Peel, you'll be sung when we're both run to 
earth I" 

As to John Peel's general character I can say 
little. He was- of a very limited education beyond 
hunting. But no wile of a fox or hare could evade 
his scrutiny ; and business of any shape was utterly 
neglected, often to cost far beyond the first loss. 
Indeed this neglect extended to the paternal duties 
in his family. I believe he would not have left the 
drag of a fox on the impending death of a child, or 
any other earthly event. An excellent rider, I saw 
him once on a moor put up a fresh hare and ride 
till he caught her with his whip. You may know 
that he was six feet and more, and of a form and 
gait quite surprising, but his face and head some- 
what insignificant. A clever sculptor told me that 
he once followed, admiring him, a whole market 
day before he discovered who he was. 

I remember he had a son Peter, about twelve 
years old, who seemed dwarfish and imperfect. 
When Peter was put upstairs to bed, instead of 
prayers, he always set out with the call to the 

8 John Woodcock Graves. 

hounds. From the quest upwards he hunted them 
by name till the view holloa, when Peel would look 
delighted at me, and exclaim, " Dam it, Peter hes 
her off! Noo he'll gae to sleep." On such occa- 
sions the father listened as to reality, and abstrac- 
tedly would observe, " Noo Peter, that's a double — 
try back. Hark ye, that's Mopsy running foil" — 
(then laugh) — " Run Peter, Dancer lees — flog him 
— my word, he'll git it noo — but don't kill him 
quite, «Scc." — (and then laugh again.) 

Peel was generous as every true sportsman ever 
must be. He was free with the glass " at the heel 
of the hunt ;" but a better heart never throbbed in 
man. His honour was never once questioned in 
his life-time. In the latter part of his life his estate 
was embarrassed, but the right sort in all Cumber- 
land called a meet some years since, and before 
parting they sang John Peel in full chorus, closing 
by presenting him with a handsome gratuity, which 
empowered him to shake off his encumbrances, and 
die with a "hark tally-ho !" 

Judging from the foregoing autobiography — 
which has the merit of being honest and outspoken 
— Graves possesses little or no worldly wisdom. 
The extremes of manly strength and childish 
simplicity seem to meet in his nature. He is 
evidently one of those wayward spirits who, through 
following the dictates of their own wandering 

John Woodcock Graves. g 

tendencies, never manage to settle down kindly 
to the practical business of life. With no school 
or college education, he has written from the 
impulse of nature and his own experience. I am 
careless about defending his verses in their minutise; 
they are rugged and uneven and lack artistic finish, 
and in certain moods I have been tempted to liken 
them to "ill-managed wall fruit — ripe, rich, blooming 
on one side ; on the other, immature, defective, and 
sometimes worse." But still, in spite of these and 
other drawbacks, there is no denying the fact that 
" Graves hes aboot him o' t' mackin's of a clever 
fellow" — as I once heard a shrewd Cumbrian 
rustic phrase it. 

Two of his productions at least bear the impress 
of an original mind, and go far to prove that in the 
hey-day of manhood, with due cultivation and 
watchful discipline, he might have done something 
considerable for Cumberland song. His first 
attempt — "D'ye ken John Peel wi' his coat so 
gray 1 " — appeared more than thirty years ago, and 
at once became extremely popular. Amongst 
hunting songs it has few rivals ; although I am 
not disposed to think that any one of its class has 
reached the highest order of lyrical excellence. 
Most of them sing well enough as songs ; but as 
compositions they are, generally speaking, meagre 
and imperfect. How far they fall below the true 
standard will be best seen by contrasting a few of 
the ablest of them with two or three of our finest 

lo yoh7i Woodcock Graves. 

lyrics — such, for instance, as "A Man's a Man for 
a' that" and "Ye Mariners of England." Com- 
paratively speaking, therefore, I conclude that the 
writers of our hunting literature have failed to 
produce anything like consummate works of art, 
and as yet have merely warmed their hands at the 
fires lighted by the Titans. Now, this dearth of 
genius is something marvellous, when we recollect 
that the English people for generations past have 
been proverbial for their love of field sports. 

Let us, however, speak of "John Peel" simply as 
a hunting song, and nothing more. I would not for 
a moment compare its simple words and melody to 
that wonderful chorus and no less wonderful tune 
of "Old Towler ;" nor claim for it the completeness 
and easy flow of " Tom Moody ;" but after these 
are named, where shall we look for one which 
excels it in intensity of feeling and vigorous Saxon 
expression % A friend (who is himself a good song- 
writer, and some of whose productions grace the 
present volume), argues that " A Southerly wind 
and a Cloudy sky " is one of our best hunting 
songs. Well, there is no denying its rank as such, 
for it breathes the very breath of a genuine fox- 
hunter, and, moreover, is as rough and uncouth as 
one in every other aspect ; but I cannot help 
thinking it much below par as a literary production. 
Certainly, it is below " John Peel," which it would 
be unwise to set up as a model of excellence in 
this respect. 

yohjt Woodcock Graves. 1 1 

Even "Old Towler "—which is generally looked 
upon as the representative song of its class — weakens 
considerably, in point of energy and expression, at 
the opening of the second verse. 

' ' The cordial takes its meny round, 
The laugh and joke prevail," &c., 

may be sweet and melodious lines, and may possess 
a finish and softness which the others entirely lack ; 
but they smack too much of the phraseology of the 
mere gentleman who hunts in warm gloves, for 
pastime and fashion's sake, rather than for any real 
liking or love of the sport. " John Peel," on the 
contrary, is carved with a rude chisel out of homely 
materials. It's language is the genuine utterance of 
an old Cumbrian foxhunter who has been in at a 
hundred deaths ; nor can it be said that a single 
expression has been moulded to tickle ears polite. 
It makes no pretensions to be either more or less 
than an every-day hunting song — a song for lovers 
of the chase to get by heart and sing — but not one 
by any means inviting to critical disquisition. Is it 
surprising, therefore, that to some who have been 
unable to throw any infusion of the hunter's spirit 
into it, it should appear exaggerated and even 
foolish? Such persons have been trained from 
infancy to observe a certain evenness of manner 
and guardedness of speech, and know not what to 
make of the strong, rough words and deeds of men, 
who, like "the hunter, John Peel," are almost 
peculiar to the rugged moorland dales of the north. 

12 yohn Woodcock Graves. 

The verses of "John Peel" remind one in some 
respects of the popular Jacobite favourite, " Hey, 
Johnny Cope, are ye wauken yet?" There are 
plenty of specimens of bad measure and bad rhythm 
in both songs, but I don't think there is a single 
false sentiment or expression in either of them. 

In the " Monody on John Peel," Graves has 
struck a higher key- note than in the older song. 
True, it has as many defects as its predecessor, and, 
in addition, can never attain to the same popularity. 
The meaning, also, in one or two lines is somewhat 
obscure, indicating the unpractised hand of one 
incapable of fully expressing his idea ; yet, for all 
this, who will say that much pure ore does not shine 
out of its framework? And because Graves has 
depicted some of the higher phases of animal life in 
this piece, he has been misunderstood and misre- 
presented. This, however, need not fill his mind 
with the least wonder, as there is a certain class in 
the community who have become proverbial for 
judging all things of heaven and earth from their 
loii'cst standpoint. The attachment which the late 
John Peel felt for his hounds, and that which they 
in return felt for him, contained within itself better 
and purer elements than any merely selfish mind 
or ordinary dog-fancier could fully comprehend. 
Respecting this point, Graves himself says in an 
unpublished MS. : — " I never knew dogs so sensible 
as Peel's, or so fearful of offending him. A mutual 
feeling seemed to exist between them. If he 

yohn Woodcock Graves. 13 

threatened, or even spoke sharply, I have known 
them to wander and hide for two or three days 
together, unless he previously expressed sorrow for 
the cause at issue. Whenever they came to a dead 
lock, he was sure to be found talking to some 
favourite hound as if it had been a human being ; 
and I cannot help thinking that these dogs knew all 
he said relative to hunting as well as the best 
sportsman in the field." 

It was fitting that Graves should become the 
laureate of Peel's achievements in the field; for 
who so full of sympathy and clear insight into 
character as a bosom companion with a quick per- 
ceptive eye % Moreover, no man has loved sport 
better, not even Peel himself; and over the hunting 
grounds of rocky Cumberland time was when no 
squire rode more boldly after the fox, or cheered 
Ruby and Ranter more lustily, than he who at 
threescore and ten still delights to hunt among the 
wild bushwoods of Tasmania. 





[Air : "Bonnie Annie." — The history of this popular 
hunting song is very curious, as will be seen by reference to 
the interesting autobiographical sketch of its author. Thirty 
years since no person could walk through the streets of Carlisle, 
without hearing some one either whistling the air, or singing 
the song. Since then its popularity has spread far and wide. 
It has been chanted in most parts of the world where English 
hunters have penetrated. It was heard in the soldiers' camps 
at the siege of Lucknow, and was lately sung before the 
Prince of Wales. Stray copies, and generally imperfect ones, 
have got into the newspapers ; but it now appears for the first 
time in a general collection. The hunt is supposed to com- 
mence at Low Denton-holme, near Caldbeck ; ihence across 
a rugged stretch of countiy in a south-easterly direction ; and 
bold reynard is finally mn into on the heights of Scratchmere 
Scar, near Lazonby. — The old rant of "Bonnie Annie" is 
obsolete. ] 

iJ'YE ken John Peel with his coat so gray? 
D'ye ken John Peel at the break of day 1 
D'ye ken John Peel when he's far, far away, 
With his hounds and his horn in the morning'? 

Twas the sound of his horn brought me from my bed, 
An' the cry of his hounds has me oft-times led ; 
For Peel's view holloa would 'waken the dead, 
Or a fox from his lair in the morning. 

jfohn Woodcock Graves. 15 

D'ye ken that bitch whose tongue is death % 
D'ye ken her sons of peerless faith ] 
D'ye ken that a fox, with his last breath, 
.Curs'd them all as he died in the morning ? 

'Twas the sound of his horn, &c. 

Yes, I ken John Peel and auld Ruby too. 
Ranter and Royal and Bellman as true f' 
From the drag to the chase, from the chase to the view, 
From the view to the death in the morning. 

'Twas the sound of his horn. &c. 

An' I've follow'd John Peel both often and far, 
O'er the rasper-fence, the gate, and the bar, 
From Low Denton-holme up to Scratchmere Scar, 
Where we vied for the brush in the morning. 

'Twas the sound of his horn, &c. 

Then, here's to John Peel with my heart and soul, 
Come fill, fill to him another strong bowl ; 
For we'll follow John Peel thro' fair or thro' foul, 
While v/e're wak'd by his horn in the morning. 

* These were the real names of the hounds which Peel in 
his old age said were the very best he ever had or saw. 

J. W. G. 

1 6 yohn Woodcock Graves. 

'Twas the sound of his horn brought me from my bed, 
An' the cry of his hounds has me oft-times led ; 
For Peel's view holloa would 'waken the dead, 
Or a fox from his lair in the morning. 


[After having hunted a pack of fox hounds as no other 
mail could, to the delight of all Cumberland, for upwards of 
forty years, John Peel died full of honours in 1S54, at the 
ripe age of seventy-eight. When intelligence reached Wood- 
cock Graves, he at once took up his pen and, like a true 
sportsman, wrote the following manly tribute to the memory 
of his friend, the famous old hunter. The valley of Caldbeclv. 
is shut out by lofty green mountains, from the noise and tur- 
moil of the busy world. A branch of the Caldew runs 
murmuring by the side of its quiet village churchyard ; and 
under the shadows of tall sycamores and yews may be seen 
the grave of John Peel, surmounted by a memorial stone 
designed after true hunting fashion. ] 

O heave not my heart, for this tear from mine eye 

I would dash, were it not that I feel 
That the time will be soon when all hunters shall die, 
So I'll drop this one down for John Peel. 
Then turn up the glass. 
And so let the sand pass 
From one end to t'other : it may be 
Again death may strike, 
But can ne'er on the like — 
And the next stroke may fall upon me. 

John Woodcock Graves. 17 

Whene'er in the chase, he was first of the field, 

Who has gone to the land o' the leal : 
What made the woods ring, till the stubborn oak reel'd, 
But the hounds and the horn of John Peel ? 
Old Caldew may roll, 
And the shepherd may stroll, 
To listen, but listen in vain ; 
Who gave the horn blast, 
Now has blown out his last, 
And there ne'er will his like sound again. 

Now Reynard may prowl in the wide open day, 

Nor the hare out so lightly need steal ; 
The hounds have all singled and slunk far away 
When they boded the death of John Peel. 
The herdsman may climb, 
And no more hear the chime 
That often has jingled below j 
But 'ware the moor-hen, 
Of the fox's keen ken. 
For he hears not the shrill tally-ho ! 

Each hound gave a howl and last look at the horn, 

(Who saith that a dog cannot feel ?) 
Then singled to pine, all dejected, forlorn. 

And died on the death of John Peel. 
III. 2 

1 8 John Woodcock Graves. 

But foxes that prowl, 

In the graveyards to howl, 
Keep far from his tomb when ye go, 

Or to your surprise. 

By Jove ! he may rise, 
With a shriek and a wild tally-ho ! 

Then hang up the horn on the blighted old tree. 

That some hunter who passeth may kneel ; 
And when the wind dangles that horn, it may be, 
That it looms the last sigh of John Peel. 
Then fill up the glass, 
And, though dumb, let it pass 
To him in the land o' the leal ; 
Like him far away. 
Who has tender'd this lay, 
Remember the hunter, John Peel. 


[Here first printed.] 

O give me back my native hills 
If bleak or bleary, grim or gray ; 
For still to those my bosom swells, 
In golden lands and far away. 

yohn Woodcock Graves. 19 

For all the gold ne'er yet could buy, 
That gushing glow I've felt and feel, 
When Cumbria's name shines to the eye, 
Then down a listless tear will steal. 

Men's haunts I've shunn'd for forest drear, 
To lonely scan the sweeping stream ; 
Down by a dell to ponder there 
On things gone by in memory's dream. 

And then, God knows, my heart would fill : 
A homeless, friendless, sackless wight — 
The sun gone down below the hill, 
And I regardless of the night. 

E'en then I've seen in fitful dreams, 
That most lov'd, dearest, long-lost home, 
Of glassy lakes and mountain streams — 
Yea, jocund back to them I come ! 

But let this stream rush on and hear 
Nought but the skirl of bush-night clatter, 
Discordant to a British ear. 
As raven's croak or magpie's chatter. 

To hear the wild-dogs shriek and bay ; 
While mighty trees crash from the height, 
Down frightful gulphs and far away. 
More deep and darker still than night 

20 John Woodcock Graves. 

Strange jumble of a mighty freak — 
And vast ! nor can the eye 
Discern, nor ever voice could speak 
To tell its aim or destiny. 

O give me back my own lov'd fells, 
Nor spangled birds for linnets gray ; 
For linnet's song the bosom thrills, 
While gaudy birds are but display. 

Then I could sleep and rest contented, 
Tho' ne'er a stone told where I lie — 
If little lov'd, still less lamented, 
I'd crave no brighter destiny. 


[Air : "Miss Mc. Cloud." — "This is an old nursery song," 
writes Woodcock Graves, "partly my owii, that in my wander- 
ings among the wilds of Tasmania and other lands has often 
found me a welcome with the young ones in hut or house ; 
and has always been encored by a round robin. My attach- 
ment to the young is the sole cause of sending it. It is 
iimocent and may be lost. If it be printed it may amuse many 
a homely and peaceful hearth in Cumberland when I am no 
more. It must be very old, as I have known part of it for 
sixty years. " — A less perfect version of this song will be found 
in Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes of England. ^ 

John Woodcock Graves. 21 

My father he died and I didn't know how, 
And left me his horses to follow the plough : 

^Yith. my wing, wing waddle O 

Jackey sing saddle O 

Bessy be the babble O 

Under the broom. 

I sold my horses and I bought a little cow, 
But when I went to milk her I never knew how. 
With my wing, wing waddle O, &c. 

I sold my cow and I bought a little calf, 
And I never made a bargain but I lost the better half. 
^^'ith my wing, wing waddle O, &c. 

I sold my calf and I bought a little hen, 
And if she laid an egg I never knew when. 

With my wing, wing waddle O, &c. 

I sold my hen and I bought a little cat, 
A pretty little pussy, but she never caught a rat. 
With my wing, wing waddle O, &c. 

I sold my cat and I bought a little mouse, 

And its tail caught fire and it burnt down my house. 

With my wing, wing waddle O 

Jackey sing saddle O 

Bessy be the babble O 

Under the broom. 


died in Carlisle almost unknown. His 
life was mostly spent in retirement, and 
few out of his own family circle knew how intense 
were the sufferings he patiently endured for many 
weary years. He was a stricken deer that had long 
left the herd, and died while yet a young man, 
being cut off at the early age of thirty-four. Long 
suffering had so chastened his spirit that his nature 
seemed literally to overflow with mild earnestness 
and sympathy ; and though the brief span of his 
life was marked by many disappointed aspirations, 
the race was run without showing any outward signs 
of useless murmuring or repining. Like many 
men who have possessed the accomplishment of 
verse, he was of a quiet retiring disposition, and 
sensitive to a remarkable degree. On all topics 
relating to his own productions he was as shy and 
reserved as a woodland bird ; but now that he has 
passed away from among the sons of men, it needs 

John James Lonsdale. 2 


no apology on the part of one who had some slight 
acquaintance with him to step forth and place this 
simple wreath upon his grave. 

From a brief and modestly written memoir, pre- 
fixed to the collected edition of his Songs and 
Ballads, issued in 1S67, we learn that he was a 
grand-nephew of Mark Lonsdale, the author of the 
" Old Commodore," a vigorous sea-song of the true 
English type, " The Upshot," a poem in the Cum- 
berland dialect, etc. He was born in Dumfries in 
1829, and received his school education at a private 
academy in Carlisle, kept by Mr. Laver. In due 
course he was placed in the Carlisle City and 
District Bank, of which his father was one of the 
managing directors. After learning the ordinary 
routine of business there, he left home and took a 
situation in Manchester, where he toiled incessantly, 
often remaining at his desk till one or two o'clock 
in the morning. This of course could not last long. 
It would have told upon stronger frames than his, 
and naturally enough resulted in his finally breaking 
doNvn, and having to return to "the old home nest" 
to recruit. Again he tried Manchester, but was 
again beaten back ; and the effects of the second 
attack were more fatal than the first, through an 
operation he had to undergo, in which he lost his 
left arm. After being literally brought to death's 
door by a duplicity of ailments he at length rallied 
again by slow degrees ; and in the itw remaining 
years of a life spent out of the noise and bustle of 

24 yohn y antes Lonsdale. 

the world, was produced the great bulk of his lyrical 

Being thus prevented from followinghis profession, 
he devoted himself more and more to poetic compo- 
sition, and after some time made several attempts to 
get his songs inserted in the periodicals of the day, 
but wathout success. At length, however, several 
of them found a suitable outlet through being set to 
music by Miss Gabriel, Blumenthal, and other com- 
posers. These attracted the attention of Robert 
Browning, and Father Prout of " Fraser's," who 
both spoke warmly in praise of what he had 
produced, and ultimately took an interest in him as 
a young man of considerable promise. When it 
was urged upon him by Miss Gabriel to collect and 
publish his songs, the reply was so characteristic of 
his general modest demeanour that I cannot 
refrain from quoting it. He says, " I fear I have 
not sufficient nerve to bear the sight of my effusions 
in a collected form. I doubt, too, they would want 
variety; and one is more lightly dealt with in a 
single song, than when you lay a volume on the 
critic's table. I cannot allow you to depreciate 
your share in our work, for you have made me any 
popularity I have gained. I might have scribbled 
away in my own fashion long enough, without 
encouragement or success, if you had not given me 

the one, and assisted me to the other 

I don't think I have any ' energetic ' bumps in my 
head, and I feel sure my facility of composition is 

John James Lonsdale. 25 

not great — so perhaps it is better for me just to 
dawdle leisurely half-a-dozen times before the public 
in a season, than gallop myself out of breath all at 
one heat." 

So he held on his course resignedly till the spring 
of 1864, when the shadow of death again fell upon 
him ; and this time — as if in answer to his own 
earnest prayer in "Ruby" — the old Reaper, in 
seeking bis sheaves, did " hasten the hour of their 
meeting, in the far off land" — for he quietly breathed 
his last on Sunday the 30th day of May, and was 
buried in the village churchyard of Stanwix. 

Lonsdale's poetry is on the whole very beautifully 
and sweetly expressed. His industry seems to have 
been untiring, and the most praise-worthy part of it 
is that he has left behind him no traces of haste or 
carelessness. A quiet constancy of effort is one of 
his chief characteristics. You feel that he has put 
all the work he can into his pictures before leaving 
them ; and generally, too, with a dehcacy of touch 
and a minuteness of finish, which declare the fine and 
observing eye of the painter. You feel that he has 
been familiar with the best models, until they have 
grown upon his mind, as they do upon all minds com- 
prehensive enough to take them in. His verses not 
unfrequently contain more of sentiment and feeling 
than of thought or suggestiveness ; more of the lovely 
and the graceful than of the stern or the terrible ; 
but these very qualities, subordinate though they be, 
stamp him, at least, as a true and pleasing lyrical 

26 yolin James Lonsdale. 

poet. Had he reached the " years which bring the 
philosophic mind " it is more than probable that he 
would have attained to greater excellence of style, 
to a more varied treatment of his subjects, and 
in some respects have become an abler master of 
his art. 

When Gustave Dore saw the ocean for the first 
time, such was the unbounded joyousness produced 
upon his mind by its vastness and sublimity that, 
like a large overgrown child, he cut all sorts of fan- 
tastic capers on the sea-shore ; and then in a 
state of frenzy threw the sand in wild disorder 
over his head ; nor was he able to suppress his 
feelings until he had actually rolled amongst 
it ! Now, this freak may be in keeping with 
the nature of the enthusiastic Frenchman, whose 
daring imagination gained for him in a it\s 
short months a European reputation ; but as a 
nation we are far too staid and phlegmatic to make 
any display of such outbursts of feeling. Indeed, I 
question if any English poet or artist ever ran such 
riot, however great or wayward his genius might be. 
Lonsdale was a genuine lover of the old ocean, 
either when calmly bathed in sunshine or when 
lashed into fury and rolled mountains high ; and 
yet he was never known to make any babble or out- 
ward display of his love for it. Nature gave him 
good advice when she directed his footsteps to the 
surf-beat shores of his native Sohvay ; for the sea 
and its seamen, its coasts and skies, have inspired 

yohn James Lonsdale. 27 

him mth his happiest productions and occupy by 
far the most prominent place in his pages. The 
Sohvay— Hmited as are its boundaries from shore to 
shore — was to him better than all the rushing waters 
of the mighty Atlantic. In his youth and early 
manhood as he roamed along the north-west coast 
of Cumberland, with Criffel looming on one side and 
Skiddaw on the other, the sea-roar sank deeper and 
deeper into his heart until it became, perhaps imper- 
ceptibly, one of the ruling passions of his nature. 
The Sea ! The Sea ! Its very name stirred his 
blood and intensified his feeUngs ! 

Lonsdale's popularity as a ballad writer has been 
more widely spread by his " Ship Boy's Letter" and 
" Robin's Return" than by any other of his published 
works ; both of which it is needless to say have been 
inspired by the ocean's breeze. They speak to the 
heart as well as to the eye \ are full of innocence 
and youthful gaiety; and delight us by their health- 
ful spirit and the freshness of their looks. They 
gradually rise into a natural strain of pathos and 
quiet humour ; and seem to lack nothing unless it 
be a certain gushing bird-like utterance, which would 
have lent them a grace beyond the reach of art. 
It is wonderful how quickly a true ballad finds its 
way to the hearts of the people, and there secures 
for itself an abiding place — especially if it be one of 
the homely class in which is depicted some 

Familiar matter of to-day ; 

.Some natural sorrow, loss or pain, 

Which has been and may be again. 

28 yohn James Lonsdale. 

" The Ship Boy's Letter " and its companion have 
already become favourites in hundreds of English 
homes, and their popularity is still considerably on 
the increase. Many a mother has listened to them 
with breathless delight as she smiled and thought of 
her " boy in blue " writing home on the breach of a 
gun, and cracking his harmless jokes about flying 
fish and Maltese lace ; about sweet Bessie Green, 
the lass he loves ; and the yarns which granny spins 
" in the corner off the door." 

A noticeable peculiarity of Lonsdale is his love 
for the phrase " bonny brown face," as descriptive 
of a sailor's sunburnt countenance. It was evidently 
a favourite of his, for it occurs in several of his 
ballads. An amusing chapter might be written 
on the expressions and subjects which have been 
favourites with poets and painters. Professor 
Wilson seemed never to tire of introducing "the 
tall sycamore " into his landscapes or descriptions 
of cottage scenery ; Tennyson is partial to the 
"silvery marish flower" which flourishes luxuriantly 
in the Fen county of Lincolnshire; and Burns 
repeats himself more than once with the self-same 
appeal to "the Powers aboon." Ruyzdael is most 
at home in transferring to canvas an old mill with 
two or three stunted trees dotted around it ; Wouv- 
ermans must have his white horse and Dutch cavalier 
introduced somewhere or somehow into his pictures, 
and Berghem his goat and donkey, or the canvasses 
of these painters look not like themselves. And 

John James Lonsdale. 29 

so the chapter may be extended at the reader's 

Next to the " Ship Boy's Letter " and " Robin's 
Return," I am disposed to place " Minna," the 
opening ballad in the volume of his collected pieces. 
Indeed, as a work of art it is superior to both of 
them, or to anything its author has Avritten. Nothing 
can be more beautifully conceived or more tenderly 
expressed than the opening picture of the old-world 
village, with its simple-minded inhabitants still 
clinging to primitive manners and customs as 
tenaciously as their forefathers did in generations 
past. The construction of the ballad is of the 
simplest kind, and the various details have been so 
far worked out with success that we are apt to 
overlook its merits, and to think only of the 
pleasure we have derived from its perusal. It wins 
by its grace and naturalness, rather than dazzles 
by its novelty or force. Each verse lays hold of 
our imagination and draws us on to the next. 

A faery tale of by-gone days 
Comes dreaming back to me ; 
I hear a whii-ring spiiming wheel, 
A murmur of the sea ; 
And sit before the cottage door, 
Beside my Grandame's knee. 

I see the sunny wavelets glance 
Along the grey beach brim, 
And golden gleams of thousand pools 
Where swift-winged curlews skim ; 
While white sails lie 'twixt sea and sky, 
Like cloudlets faint and dim. 

30 y'oJin yames Lonsdale. 

I sit aud watch the trembhng hands 

Move slowly to and fro ; 

And listen while the murmuring wheel 

Hums on its burthen low, 

To runic rhymes of olden times 

And songs of long ago. 

Her oldest truest tale I craved, 
Nor would I be denied ; 
So thus, and thus, the story ran, 
Whilst on the spindle plied ; 
And part to hear, and part in fear, 
I nestled by her side. 

Under the spell of the old grandame's faery tale we 

are soon in dreamland, without the power to ask or 

learn how we came or whither we go. We mingle 

with the dancers on the village green \ then saunter 

along an enchanted path to where 

The ocean beat throbs at our feet 
And sweeps the foam bells by — 

And are carried on and on to where the Water- 
Spirit claims Minna as his bride : — 

For there the Water Spirit sat, 

Girt round with dripping wreck. 

His head was crowned with coral sprays 

And pearls about his neck : 

My heai-t aghast throbbed loud and fast 

As if that it would break. . 

Like grasp of stone his arms were thrown 

About my shuddering side : 

"O come with me ! O come with me !" 

The Water Spirit cried — 

"And thou shalt be in all the sea 

The fairest Ocean bride ! 

yohn y antes Lonsdale. 31 

"I have a ring the fairest hand 

Might not disdain to wear. 

And rubies I unclasped last night 

From a drowned lady's hair : 

O follow now ! Thy snowy brow 

Will make their sheen more fair !" 

A-do-wTi, a-down, he bore me down, 
My lips they touch'd the sea, 
And then the waves clos'd o'er my head 
Wliile downward still went we, 
Through moonlit waters to the deeps 
Where bright hued mosses be. 

We hold our breath until the end is reached, and 
then regret that the way has been so short, wondering 
how it was that the weird nature of the incidents 
has passed away so soothingly ; and finally we 
resolve to go the journey over again. This is the 
real charm of the ballad. It is sufficient to glance 
over most modern attempts at ballad manufacture ; 
but I cannot help thinking that "Minna" will be as 
fresh at the fiftieth reading as at the first. 

There is little that is original either in the imagery 
or the language of the border ballad, "Lily Graeme" ; 
and yet its simplicity acts as a spell upon me, as it 
must upon most people. " Ruby" is one of the gems 
of the book. Its great charm lies in the tender 
pensiveness, the moral melancholy which pervades 
it, giving us the assurance that it could only have 
been conceived by one who had succeeded above 
most men in casting off the rags of unrighteousness, 
and in Ijecoming pure in thought, spirit, and deed. 

32 John James Lonsdale. 

And, lastly, we turn from these sweet lays to another 
song of the sea — a spirit-stirring composition entitled 
"Olaf's Last Cruise." To me it seems to embody 
much of the spirit of those fierce old fellows, the 
Norsemen, from whom have descended most of the 
sinewy elements which have gone to make up the 
pluck and enterprize of Englishmen. 

Charles Kingsley is of opinion that it is better 
to write words to music (than to write the words 
first and let others set music to them), and brings 
forward the two best modern song writers, Bums 
and Moore, to illustrate this point. He says : 
"As long as song is to be the expression of pure 
emotion, so long it must take its key from music — 
which is pure emotion, untranslated as yet into the 
grosser medium of thought and speech." This is a 
subject well worth the consideration of our living 
song-writers. Lonsdale adopted the opposite 
course, and not always with success. Some of his 
songs which have been set to music, or were written 
expressly for that purpose, seem to me to be the 
weakest in the volume. They are smooth and har- 
monious in versification, and may charm the ear as 
they fall from the lips of some fair maiden in the 
drawing-room circle ; but they are singularly point- 
less and feeble in expression. Sometimes, too, they 
possess a certain amount of what may be termed 
graceful sameness, resulting from the gold being too 
much beaten out ; but this process has rendered 
them cold and inanimate to a remarkable degree. 

John James Lonsdale. 33 

They have no power to send the blood tinghng 
through your veins. Their ghtter is as the ghtter of 
the winter sun upon the snow. In a word, they 
lack the spirit of the old Greek fire ; they want the 
breath of life. 

A few short years, however, completed the span 
of Lonsdale's literary career, and criticism would 
therefore be ill employed in dwelling with severity 
on the productions of one who sang with a thorn at 
his breast ; but whose muse, if "born of pain and 
disappointment, breathed no notes of repining or 



. BY 



ERE'S a letter from Robin, father, 

A letter from o'er the sea, 
I was sure that the spark i' the wick last 
Meant there was one for me; 
And I laugh'd to see the postman's face 

Look in at the dairy park. 
For you said it was so woman-like 
To put my trust in a spark, 

" Dear father and mother and granny, 

I write on the breech of a gun ; 
And think as I sit at the port-hole 

And look at the setting sun, 

John James Lonsdale. 35 

Father's smoking his pipe beside you, 
While you ' holy-stone ' the porch ; 

Or are getting clean rigging ready 
For to-morrow's cruize to church. 

" You mus'nt be hard on the writing, 

For what with ropes and with tar, 
My fingers won't crook as they ought to, 

And spelling is harder far ; 
And every minute a lurch comes 

And spoils the look of my i's ; 
And I blot 'em instead of dot 'em 

And I can't get my words of a size. 

" Tell Bessie I don't forget her ; 

But every Saturday night, 
When we're chatting of home in the twilight, 

And our pipes are all alight, 
And I'm ask'd to toast the lass I love, 

I name sweet Bessie Green :" 
(O father to think of his doing that, 

And the monkey scarce fifteen !) 

"And, granny, the yarns you spin all day, 

In the corner off the door. 
Won't be half so long and so tough as mine, 

When I see you all ashore. 

36 John James Lonsdale. 

You maybe won't swallow flying fish, 

But I'll bring you one or two ; 
And some Maltese lace for topsail gear, 

And a fan for you know who. 

" Then good-bye to each dear face at home, 

Till I press it with my lips, 
While you pray each night for ' ships at sea,' 

And ' God speed all sea ships !' 
I smile as I rock in my hammock, 

Tho' storms may shriek and strain ; 
For I feel when we pray for each other, 

We're sure to meet again." 


It was Yule and the snow kept falling 

In silent shado^vy flight, 
Through the dull gray haze of the daylight 

Far into the starless night ; 

yohn James Lonsdale. 37 

And father sat close by the fireside 

With the children round his knee, 
And every bonny brown face was there 

But the one that was at sea. 

Never a letter and ne'er a word, 

And my eyes with tears were dim, 
As I wreathed the holly upon the wall, 

And harked to the children's hymn ; 
And father said as their carol ceased, 

With a smile nigh like a tear, 
Christmas will scarce be Christmas, wife, 

If our boy should not be here. 

The wheel in the nook stood all unturned, 

And I saw not granny's face ; 
But the tears dropped under the wrinkled hands, 

Held towards the Yule log blaze : 
Poor Bessie she turn'd to the doorway, 

With face both pale and sad, 
So I kissed her cheek ere we parted 

For love of my sailor lad. 

As I look'd down the drift dimm'd pathway, 

I said there's one we know, 
Would have given a good deal, darling. 

To have seen you thro' the snow ; 

38 John James Lonsdale. 

Then we drew near the hearth together, 

And listened side by side, 
In the first blythe peal of the nierry bells, 

Which welcome Christmas tide. 

Never a sound but the crackling log, 

And the wind amid the thatch, 
Till the clock was near the stroke of twelve, 

When a finger rais'd the latch ; 
A merry brown face stood at the door, 

The face I lov'd the best. 
And the snow in the curls of Robin 

Lay melting on ray breast ! 

Dear granny, she rose from her corner, 

And clapped her hands in glee, 
And she said " O roving Robin, 

You must keep a kiss for me ! 
And there's some one else will want one, too, 

Who left not long ago !" 
"Ah, she got it," quoth Robin laughing, 

"When we met among the snow." 

John James Lonsdale. 39 


[This ballad conjures up to one's mind Maiy Stuart as a 
prisoner in Carlisle Castle in 1568. Respecting the manner 
of her confinement, Sir Francis Knollys, in a letter to Cecil, 
writes thus : — " Yesterday hyr Grace went owte at a posteme 
to walke on a playing-greene toward Skotland, and we with 
24 halberders of Master Read's band with divers gentlemen 
and other servants waited on hyr. Where about 20 of hyr 
retinue played at footeball before hyr the space of two howers 
very stronglye, nymbylly, and skilfullye, without any fowle 
playe offered, the smahiess of theyr balls occasyoning theyr 
fayr playe."] 

" Queen Mary ! Wilt thou buy my flowers," 

The Warder's daughter said — 

" Wilt buy my yellow daffodils, 

Wet from their osier bed ; 

And all the fee I crave from thee 

Is but a song instead !" 

"O Lady mine !" the maiden sang, 

With lilies in her hands, 

And knots of golden leaflets wTeathed 

Among the waving bands 

Of sunlit hair, which here and there 

Hung down in shining strands. 

40 John James Lo7isdale. 

" Sweet lady will you sing to me 1 

'Tis many years ago 

Since last I heard my Mother's voice, 

In cadence soft and low ; 

While on her knee she fondled me, 

And rocked me to and fro. 

"Aye, many a ballad tune we heard 

I' the darkening eventide, 

When nestling by our Mother's knee 

Around the chimney wide, 

We watched the flame which went and came, 

About the inde side. 


"Years have rolled by \ across the hearth 

My shadow falls alone, 

And one by one each soul has gone 

To seek a golden throne, 

Whilst I would fain forget since then 

I have a woman grown. 

" My hands fall idly on my lap, 
A mist swims o'er my eyes ; 
When still and radiant as the stars, 
Which glow in purple skies. 
Come shadows sweet mth silent feet 
And looks of Paradise. 

John James Lonsdale. 41 

"Dim, olden days, when hand in hand 
Through dale and hawthorn lane, 
And by the river's sedgy bank, 
We strayed a happy twain ; 
Until the angels came and sought 
My playmate back again. 

"I think I hear him singing now 

Among St. Mary's choir; 

His clear voice 'mid the swelling chaunt, 

Like lark notes trilling higher \ 

While through the panes of rain-bow stains 

The sunbeams glowed like fire. 

" O quiet 'tis and sweet, Lady ! 

Among the cloisters dim ; 

Midst holy dreams of heaven, Lady ! 

And calm regrets for him, 

To listen while the shadowed aisle 

Wails back a requiem. 

" I heard you sing last night. Lady : 

And to your door I crept ; 

You trilled a song he used to sing 

So like him that I wept ; 

And oft in vain I tried the strain 

In whisperings ere I slept. 

42 John James Lonsdale. 

" Your hand rests on my brow, Lady ! 
My head lies on your knee ! 
And o'er the liUes in its braids 
Your tears fall silently — 

had I wot the grief I've wrought 

1 had not come to thee ! 

" O Pardon ! if I have recalled 

Sad thoughts and bitter tears, 

By tone or word you may have heard 

Old friends use in past years, 

When crowned you stood in Holyrood 

Among your jewelled peers ! 

"Ah ! sorrow mars the sweetest note, 

And so it may not be, 

That I can claim the song to-night 

Which thou hast promised me — 

But keep the flowers — in happier hours 

I'll claim my boon from thee !" 

John James Lonsdale. 43 


I opened the leaves of a book last night , 

The dust on its cover lay dusk and brown, 
As I held it toward the waning light, 

A withered flow'ret fell rusthng down : 
'Twas only the wraith of a woodland weed, 

Which a dear, dead hand in the days of old, 
Had plac'd 't\vixt the pages she lov'd to read, 

At the time when my vows of love were told. 
And memories sweet but as sad as sweet. 

Swift flooded mine eyes with regretful tears, 
When the dry dim harebell skimm'd past my feet, 

Recalling an hour from the vanished years. 

Once more I was watching her deep fring'd eyes, 

Bent over the Tasso upon her knee, 
And the fair face blushing with sweet surprise 

At the passionate pleading that broke from me. 
Oh, Ruby, my darling ! the small white hand. 

Which gather'd the harebell was ne'er my own, 
But faded and pass'd to the far off land. 

And I dreamt by the flickering flame alone ! 

44 John James Lonsdale. 

I gather'd the flower and I clos'd the leaves. 
And folded my hands in a silent prayer, 

That the reaper Death as he seeks his sheaves 
Might hasten the hour of our meeting there ! 



I can see you blushing sair, 

Bonnie Lily Graeme ! 

Through the links o' gowden hair, 

Fallen frae your kame ! 

O'er your wheel ye've Ustening leant, 

Since that gallant came ; 

Riding through the lang green bent 

Tinged wi' sunset flame ! 

Bonnie Lily ! Bonnie Lily ! 

Bonnie Lily Graeme ! 

The pride o' a' the Border side, 

Is bonnie Lily Graeme ! 

John y antes Lonsdale. 45 

Bonnie Lily, whispering speak, 
Through my 'broidery frame ; 
What can he hae come to seek 
Frae our Border hame \ 
Dariing let me twine your hair 
Round your siller kame ; 
There are footsteps on the stair — 
Listen, Lily Graeme ! 

Bonnie Lily ! Bonnie Lily ! 

Bonnie Lily Graeme ! 

The pride o' a' the Border side 

Is bonnie Lily Graeme ! 

Kisses fond were rained on me, 
And wi' lassie shame, 
Lily whispered, wha was he 
Dearer grown than hame : — 
When our birdie leaves, the nest 
Ne'er will look the same ; 
A' that's fairest — a' that's best, 
Leaves wi' Lily Graeme ! 

Bonnie Lily ! Bonnie Lily ! 

Bonnie Lily Graeme ! 

The pride o' a' the Border side, 

Is bonnie Lily Graeme ! 

46 John James Lonsdale. 


' ' The girls at home have hold of the tow-rope. " 

Sailori Proverb. 

As nearer comes our voyage close, 
Home thoughts rise oftenest to our lips ; 
And land-ward bound we pity those 
Who pass us in their gallant ships : — 
Fair blows the breeze for every hope, 
As singing blythe we part the foam : 
The girls they hold the towing rope 
Which draws us to our English home ! 

Rough voices take a kindlier tone, 
And friends estranged together speak 
Of the sweet time which hastens on, 
^Vhen parted Love shall press their cheek. 
The night-watch chaunts as downwards slope 
Pale moonbeams from the starlit dome : 
The girls they hold the towing rope 
Which draws us to our English home ! 

John yames Lonsdale. 47 

O happy time ! When cheery calls 
Ring out high up the straining mast, 
Land ho ! Land ho ! Ere evening falls 
Our vessel's anchor will be cast ! 
" Life's but a cruise !" true is the trope ; 
And many Life-barks as they roam, 
Find sweet girls tug their towing rope. 
And anchor in an English home ! 


["'The Children's Kingdom,'" says a writer in The 
Spectator, " is really touching. The picture of the band of 
children setting out in the morning bright and happy, 
lingering in the forest at noon, and creeping to their journeys 
end at midnight with tearful eyes, has a decided charm. "] 

From the city gate at the dawning grey, 
The children journey'd a bright-eyed band, 

And sang as they threaded the mist veil'd way, 
With pilgrim staves in each dimpled hand : 

48 John James Lonsdale. 

The shepherds woke by their slumb'ring herd 

The morning dew on their sandalled feet, 
And many a bird in its dreaming stirr'd, 
As the childish voices rose silver sweet : 
"Abba Father ! Thy children come! 
Adonai ! We come ! we come !" 

The flush of daybreak glowed o'er the hills, 

And never falter'd the march or song, 
Till they reach'd a valley with winding rills, 

And myriad flow'rs mid' the grasses long : 
The sycamore shadows lay dark and cool. 

The pathway burn'd 'neath the noontide ray, 
And their tir'd feet linger'd by brake and pool, 

And nightfall came ere they sought their way: 
" Abba Father ! Thy children come ! 
Adonai! We come! we come!" 

A seraph looked forth from the golden gate. 
Close scanning the gloom with his loving eyes; 

His heart was sad, for the hour was late, 
And the pathway echoed with feeble cries. 

yohn yames Lonsdale. 49 

Late ! late ! nigh midnight the children crept, 

Dank with the rain and with thorn pierc'd feet, 
And veiling their faces, with tears bewept 
Low sang as they entered the golden street : 
"Abba Father! Thy children come ! 
Adonai! We come! we come !" 


[Olaf, the Norwegian sea-rover, is said by Sturlessen to 
have landed on the coast of Cumberland about the year 990, 
the date assigned to the Norwegian settlement in Cumberland. 
— Ferguson's Northmen in Cu/nberland and Westmorland. ] 

His pennon to the mast they nailed, 
They trimmed the sail, and from the strand 
The dying Viking slowly sailed. 
The helm clasped in his sinewy hand ; 
And as he left the shore his gaze 
Dwelt fondly on the heath-clad hill, 
Where one he loved in olden days 
Was laid a-sleeping, cold and still : — 
III. 4 

50 yohn James Lo7isdale. 

But soon the fierce look flamed anew, 

And dried the tears he nigh had shed, 

As he beheld his grisly crew 

Of stalwart Norsemen mute and dead : 

"Blow on! Blow on! Brave east wind blow, 

And weave our fiery winding sheet ! 

'Twill let our craven foeman know 

Their prey escapes to death more sweet !" 

His swarth sea-rovers paced the strand, 

Their brown cheeks wet with tears and spray. 

When stout King Olaf lit the brand. 

And sailed for ever from the bay : 

His grandson girt his sword-belt round. 

The broad blade dim with many a blow ; 

And while he stroked his whimpering hound 

He swore revenge upon the foe. 

The flames curled hissing round the mast, 

As Olaf bent above the wave, 

And said, " Farewell, thou stormy past ! 

Thrice welcome is my ocean grave ! — 

Blow on ! Blow on ! Brave east wind blow. 

The foam-capped billows o'er my head — 

'Tis meet these friends of long ago 

Should clasp me in their arms when dead !" 

yohn yames Lonsdale. 51 


Knee deep in the clover-scented grass, 

I softly sang as I milked my kine ; 

When my true love chanced by the path to pass, 

And his sea-brown face looked down on mine. 

'Twas only a freakish woman's pet, 

But ne'er a word could he win from me ; 

So he slow up-gathered his fishing net 

And turned on his way to the tossing sea. 

Down in the harbour they launched their boat, 

And coiled each cable, and set the sail j 

Far out at sea screamed the curlew's note 

As they wheeled and dipped in the rising gale. 

I saw the fishers sail with the wind, 

Out and away to the seething foam ; 

And I wished our parting had been more kind, 

And my sailor lad were again at home. 

Up in the lighthouse the lamp burned clear. 

But a mist-cloud over the harbour drew, 

When I hurried down to the oaken pier. 

To wait till the boats came straining through. 

52 John James Lonsdale. 

Boat after boat, past the pier they swept, 
One only missing from out them all ! 
Safe, by their children, the fishermen slept ! 
Lonely I watch'd by the lighthouse wall ! 

Out from the storm and the blinding night. 
With bending mast and with sails all riven, 
Like a sea-bird dazed by the sudden light, 
'Gainst the lighthouse rock was the vessel driven. 
I knelt alone on the foam-swept sand. 
By that which the waves had upward borne ; 
And parted the weeds with remorseful hand 
From the face I so coldly spurned at morn. 
Weeping I leaned to kiss on his breast 
A gift I gave as his plighted wife ; 
When a faint pulse stirred where my lips were press'd, 
And the heart low-knocked at the Gate of Life. 

yohn James Lonsdale. 53 


Has the old Border courage gone, 
From forth our city's bound, 
That we gird not our weapons on, 
Like all our neighbours round % 
When every hamlet near and far, 
Is mustering men by scores. 
Can we not raise one hand to bar 
The foeman from our doors % 

Have the brave hearts which won Poictiers, 

No scions on the sod, 

That we should quail in panic fear, 

Before a despot's nod % 

I trow that thousands tread our land. 

As brave as those of yore ; 

Yet wherefore sit with folded hand, 

Till foes leap on our shore ! 

We doubt not, Cumbrian thews of steel 
Would stoutly bear their part ; 
And love and Home and Common Weal, 
Would wake the drowsiest heart : — 

54 yohn y antes Lonsdale. 

Yet, why not free our arms from rust, 
And learn some soldier lore ; 
To quit us well — if fight we must, 
For our loved English shore 1 


The clouds unresting, are ever drifting. 

The waves are never a moment still, 

The winds are fickle and alway shifting, 

So, wherefore trust to a maiden's will? 

A sailor's life is a life of changing, 

So why need he wonder, should he find 

That heart inconstant, through Time's estranging, 

He hoped would greet him with welcome kind % 

The clouds unresting, are ever drifting. 

The waves are never a moment still, 

The winds are fickle, and alway shifting. 

So, wherefore trust to a maiden's will ? 

John Ja7nes Lonsdale. 55 

The dreamiest hollow on land will alter, 
And over granite brown mosses creep ; 
The streams haste onward, and never falter 
Until they enter the surging deep ; 
Sands are unstable, and channels vary. 
So sailors voyage with watchful eyes, 
And rule their helm with an outlook wary 
'Gainst danger lurking in wave or skies. 
The clouds unresting, are ever drifting. 
The waves are never a moment still ; 
The winds are fickle, and alway shifting, 
So, wherefore trust to a maiden's will ? 


Long, long ago the autumn fled, 

When on the meadow gate we swung, 

And rowan berries ripe and red 
Were for a coral necklace strung \ 

56 yokn ymnes Lonsdale. 

Half proud, half 'sham'd of loving you, 
And blushing while I answer'd " Nay," 

Our teasing schoolmates said 'twas true, 
You were my sweetheart, Leslie Gray. 

O Leslie love, the saddest time, 

The dreariest hour in all my life, 
Was when I heard a wedding chime, 

And you rode forth a Baron's wife ! 
Down o'er thy golden links of hair, 

The veil fell in a filmy mist. 
Upon a cheek as pale and fair, 

As the white pearls clasped round thy wrist. 

I thought of olden days and sigh'd, 

When rowan was thine only pearl— 
I could not love the Baron's bride. 

As I had loved the peasant girl : 
Nor could I check a bitter smile 

To see thee 'mid that gilded state, 
It seem'd so shortly since the while 

We swung upon that meadow gate. 


WO men in our own day have gained con- 
siderable reputations as dialect writers, 
namely, William Barnes in that of Dorset- 
shire, and Edwin Waugh in that of Lancashire. 
There are also many others who have taken to 
rhyming and prosing in the different vernaculars of 
England, but it must be clear enough to any one's 
vision that the two writers just mentioned fairly 
"o'ertop the rest by their heads and shoulders" 
Within the last few years, however, several ballads 
and short prose sketches have appeared at brief 
intervals in the dialects of Cumberland and some 
districts adjacent, the intrinsic merit and great 
popularity of which are convincing proofs that Mr. 
Craig Gibson, the author of them, may be placed at 
any time on an equal elevation with Barnes and 
Waugh. If he has not the sweetness and grace of 

58 Alexander Craig Gibson. 

the one, or the careful finish and (\\i\Qi pawkifiess of 
the other, he certainly does possess a graphic 
sweeping style, and an inexhaustible fund of 
humour, to which neither of his rivals has attained 
or is likely to attain. 

Mr. Gibson has been known for a long time in 
certain quarters as a keen antiquarian, and a suc- 
cessful writer on many interesting subjects connected 
with the English Lake country. His Ravings and 
Ramblings round Coniston, a. clever but eccentric 
little work, first appeared in the columns of a 
Kendal newspaper some eighteen or twenty years 
since. In these early days he stood forth as one of 
a numerous swarm of exacting qualifiers of Words- 
worth's poetry, and on which he still appears to 
look with too punctilious an eye to succeed in 
catching fully either its true worth or the loftiness 
of spirit which pervades it. Like most men of the 
literal school, he seems to judge of all subjects 
from the level of his own thoughts, and accordingly, 
we find him slow in admitting the truth of anything 
which differs from his ordinary way of thinking. 
Better service, however, than attacking Wordsworth 
was rendered by his editing a volume of fugitive 
verses left in manuscript by "aid Hoggart of Trout- 
beck," (an uncle of the great painter Hogarth), 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 59 

whose rude and witty productions are said to have 
reformed the manners of the people as much as the 
sermons of the parson. There are also other phases 
of literary work which have occupied his leisure 
hours, at which we might have glanced ; but these 
must be passed by in the meantime in order to 
make way for a few scattered remarks on the efforts 
he has put forth as a delineator of the manners and 
customs of the dwellers among the hills and dales 
and seaward parishes of Cumberland. His various 
stories and rh)mies in the dialect were collected 
together and published in a volume in 1869, entitled, 
The Folk-Speech of Cumberland and some Districts 
adjacent, a second edition of which was issued in 

Before proceeding further, however, I would like, 
if possible, to ascertain the cause which has made 
Cumberland so much more prolific in producing 
ballad wTiters than any other English county. Is 
it attributable to its close proximity to Scotland 
and the Scottish borderlands; or has it resulted 
from a patient study of the varied characteristics of 
the Cumbrian people, as seen on their own nooks 
of ground or by their own firesides? Whatever may 
have been the primary cause or causes I cannot now 
pretend to say, but of this I am certain, that the 

6o Alexander Craig Gibson. 

principal writers of this county have one and all, in 
youth or maturity, turned their eyes lovingly and 
reverently towards Scotland. Miss Blamire, after a 
short residence north of the Tweed, could express 
herself in the different idioms of that country with 
as much ease and purity as if she had been native 
bred and born ; and Anderson, before giving us 
his rough etchings of Cumbrian life, commenced 
his career as a rhymster in 1798 by issuing a volume 
of ballads and other pieces, which are almost ex- 
clusively couched in the Scottish dialect. Mark 
Lonsdale shows traces of having devoted consider- 
able attention to the old Scottish song writers prior 
to Ramsay ; and the height of poor Stagg's ambition 
was gained if he but touched the hem of Burns's 
garment. I know, too, that Woodcock Graves has 
often been held captive by Northern melody ; and 
there is plenty of evidence to show that the author 
of "Joe and the Geologist," and John James 
Lonsdale — nay, even Wordsworth himself — have 
all been early readers and diligent students in the 
field of Scottish song and ballad literature. 

But to return to the subject of my notice. I 
have already intimated that Mr. Gibson has at 
command a vigorous and concise style, well inlaid 
with proverbial sayings ; a rich vein of humour, 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 6i 

which varies and changes so Hke what we have seen 
in real Ufe that we sometimes forget the reflection 
in thinking of the reality; and, in addition I am 
bold enough to assert that few living men possess 
apter powers for describing rustic character in its 
various details, tendencies, and contrasts. Shall I 
say, then, that our author is endowed with the 
faculty divine which men call genius'? I am 
careless about applying such epithets to him, and 
feel assured that no one would shrink more keenly 
from them than himself: but if genius be what 
John Foster has defined it to be — common setise 
inte7isified — then he possesses a certain " hempen 
homespun" order of it in a considerable degree. 
As an incident describer of Cumbrian life and char- 
acter, in what the people themselves call " oor oan 
mak o' toak," he has so far succeeded that his name 
is already familiar to almost every man, woman, and 
child throughout the county. Cumberland is the 
main haunt and region of his song ; his thoughts 
and affections cling closely around her unsophis- 
ticated inhabitants, her Norse-rooted language, 
and her rocky scenery ; and, in return, has she 
not just reason for being proud of such a son? 
"Whatever strengthens our local attachments," says 
Southey, "is favourable both to individual and 

62 Alexander Craig Gibson. 

national character. Show me a man who cares no 
more for one place than another, and I will show 
you in that same person one who loves nothing but 

As we have just seen, Mr. Gibson has found his 
way direct to the Cumbrian heart. The bulk of 
his work in prose and verse, appears to be rather 
the emanation of ardent and enthusiastic feeling 
than any of the deeper sources of thought or reflec- 
tion. It is original and expressive, and the various 
characters which crowd his canvas bear evidence 
of having been well studied from nature. In the 
truthfulness and fidelity of his representations he 
now occupies the position which Anderson occupied 
at the early part of the present century ; while his 
pictures display a warmth of feeling, a richness of 
colouring, and an artistic working out of details, not 
often found in the productions of his predecessor. 
Most of these tales and ballads are homely enough 
and literal enough in all conscience ; but what 
work they contain is honest work, and will bear 
inspection as well as a picture by Wilkie or a tail- 
piece by Bewick. With what dexterity he describes 
the ways and means by which country lasses 
contrive to perplex and annoy their sweethearts ! 
Already he has produced a miniature gallery of 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 63 

such subjects, which bid fair to become as famous 
after their own kind as John Leech's sketches of 
children are after their kind. In the first place he 
gives us a pert comical little jade, always intent 
upon mischief, in "Lai Dinah Grayson, wid her 
dang't m'appen I may;" then a rough vigorous 
one presents herself, full of pluck and spirit, and 
such like raillery and nonsense as 

" Git oot wid the', Jwohnny, thoo's no' but a fash ; 
Thoo'll come till thoo raises a desperat clash ; 
Thoo's here iv'ry day just to put yan aboot, 
An' thoo moiders yan terrably — ^Jwohnny git oot ! " 

Then we have one of another type, much quieter 
it is true, but still very troublesome, in " Sannter, 
Bella, sannter;" and lastly we have a firm deter- 
mined one, who sends her fickle hearted swain to 
the right about, in double quick time, by fairly 
giving him a "Sneck Possett." 

The "Runaway Wedding" presents a strikingly 
original composition of a more serious cast, which 
must always stand prominently forward as a master- 
piece among Cumberland dialect productions. This 
ballad comprises within its owm brief compass an 
exquisite little rustic drama in which the characters 
of " wild, thowtless Willie " the sailor, and the 

64 Alexaiider Craig Gibson. 

leal-hearted trustful girl who becomes his bride, 
are sustained wnth a consistency which marks the 
cunning hand of one who has long been a close 
observer of human actions and events. For ex- 
pression, concentration, and vigorous description, 
I know not where to look for its equal among 
modern productions of a similar class. 

" Billy Watson' Lonning " is another ballad in 
which we see our author in his full strength. 
Generally speaking, he is satisfied with seizing 
only the common or every day side of his subject ; 
but in this piece an infusion of poetic feeling and 
reflection has given harmony and mellowness to 
what otherwise would have been a very jolting 
composition. Whatever comes within reach is here 
hitched into rhyme, and it is curious to observe 
how sec-like cantankerous names as "Scattermascott 
hill — t' Hempgarth broo — and t' Weddrigg's road " 
are successfully woven into the narrative. I will 
venture the remark that " Billy Watson' Lonning " 
records an episode in the writer's own experience, 
and nothing short of his denial can convince me to 
the contrary. 

" Mary Ray " is a graceful little ballad, the 
simple incidents of which have been very suc- 
cessfully worked out. I look upon this piece as 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 65 

being all the more valuable because of its marked 
contrast to most of the other verses in the dialect. 
Cumberland possesses in abundance ballads illus- 
trative of certain rough textures and sharp angles 
which go to make up so great a portion of its 
outside character, and which have not yet been 
worn out by social intercourse or the artificial 
refinements of pohte society. Of the mere shell, 
then, as it may be called, of everyday rustic life, 
there is enough and to spare; but for pictures 
of pathos and feeling, of grace and purity — like 
"Mary Ray" — in which the tenderest affections 
are truthfully traced, one looks and looks in vain. 
It may be said, also, that the ballad writers of this 
county have been nurtured amongst the most beau- 
tiful scenery in Britain, and yet they have scarcely 
left behind them an allusion worth mentioning to any 
loved spot of ground. However much their feelings 
may have become entwined around their humble 
hearths, they certainly have not given expression to 
such feelings in any marked degree. Mr. Gibson 
seems to think that the dialect of Cumberland is 
scarcely available for any poetry except the hum- 
orous or descriptive, which, I dare say, is true 
enough in one sense, and will hold good with 

regard to the compositions of any writer who 
III. 5 

66 Alexander" Craig Gibson. 

slavishly adheres to the dialect, by cramming into 
his work every trifling local word or whimsical 
corruption which can be " raked up " or vaguely 
expressed. But if a lyrical writer ^vishes to be true 
to the purer and better convictions of his nature, 
he naturally selects the materials most suitable for 
working out his conceptions, and soon breaks away 
from the swaddling clothes which would otherwise 
bind his thoughts and keep his soul in bondage. 
Such ballads as Miss Blamire's "Auld Robin 
Forbes," Stanyan Bigg's "Lile Polly" (in the sister 
dialect of Furness), and the one by Mr. Gibson 
just mentioned, are sufficient for my purpose to 
show what can be done in this direction when the 
minds of the writers have been rightly attuned to 
their subjects. 

There is one piece m the collection differing in 
character from any that I have noticed, called "A 
Lockerbye Lycke," in which wonderful power is 
shown in catching the spirit which animated the 
old border minstrels ; a power which notably gives 
you back, as in a mirror, the very hue and form of 
a departed age, its whims, its quaint conceits, its 
crimes, its very personages. The grouping together 
of these fierce old borderers, quarrelling over their 
wine-cups about "winsome Jean, the flower of Tun- 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 67 

dergarth" — with the lights and shadows scattered 
here and there, and the various details which go to 
make up the picture — all appear to me to be very- 
masterly painted. I know that this ballad has 
produced a considerable impression upon many- 
thoughtful minds, and I feel anxious that it should 
be still more widely known. Its antiquated spelling, 
no doubt, gives it a crusty-like appearance, and ren- 
ders it uninviting to many readers ; but this need 
be no bugbear to mar any one's enjoyment of its 
contents, for the queer quaint-looking words it 
contains are easily deciphered, and the meaning 
which underlies their surface will well repay any 
little trouble required for its mastery. 

Having glanced at a few of the ballads, let us 
turn for a moment or two to some of the tales. "Joe 
and the Geologist" was the first sketch attempted by 
Mr. Gibson in prose, and was originally published, 
anonymously, in the columns of the Whitehaven 
Herald. It has been attributed to various persons 
at different times, and, strange to say, to Dean 
Close among the rest. Professor Sedgwick was 
also " chaffed " about being the veritable geologist 
who was duped by the guileless manoeuverings of a 
Cumbrian rustic ; but I believe I am correct in 
stating that the outline and incidents of the tale 

68 Alexander Craig Gibson. 

are purely imaginary. Joe has been aptly termed 
"a stolid droll." His character — made up as it is 
of a strange compound of simplicity and shrewd- 
ness — is well worth some little study and attention. 
There is a rough outspoken honesty about most of 
his actions which we are bound to respect and 
admire, and which I take to be the great charm of 
his character. It is true he goes blundering on 
fi-om bad to worse, and creating thereby all sorts of 
confusion; but we never find him guilty of the 
slightest deviation from what he considers to be the 
path of rectitude. He is faithful to the light that is 
in him — and who can be mor(* ? 

We take up "Bobby Banks" again and again with 
pleasure, and never tire of the ludicrous reverses 
which beset his journey homeward from Keswick 
market, and trouble his muddled brains to such an 
extent that he breaks out into all sorts of childish 
rhymes for relief therefrom. As spectators of a 
highly amusing scene we look on and laugh, \vithout 
being made partakers in the events; but our laughter 
does not in the least degree lessen our regard for 
Bobby, for he still remains the same good-natured, 
easy-going soul he ever was. I have heard some 
people object very strongly to the finale of this story, 
as being an incident not likely to have occurred in 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 69 

real life. Now, this appears to be a very foolish 
objection, for almost any one knows that such 
ludicrous mistakes are of frequent occurrence to 
the absent-minded. I myself have heard of a 
similar mishap to Bobby's which occurred to a 
fanner who attended Carlisle market ; and Sydney 
Smith tells of a parson who went jogging along the 
road till he came to a turnpike. "What's to pay?" 
inquired the parson. "Pay sir ! for what?" asked 
the turnpike man. " ^\1iy, for my horse, to be 
sure." "Your horse, sir! what horse? Here's no 
horse." "No horse! God bless me," said he, 
suddenly looking down between his legs, " I 
thought I was on horseback ! " 

In the story of "Wise Wiff," however, we have 
a much more real chapter from the history of life 
laid before us; one which penetrates far below the 
surface, and probes to the very quick. There is a 
grim grandeur of truthfulness about the deathbed 
scene — where honest Jobby Jenkinson "promishes 
to be a true friend to pooar Wiff when t' oald 
man's deid and bury't" — which has been produced 
by a few decisive strokes of the pen, careless in 
appearance, but effective in their results. In the 
rude conception of generosity entailed by the dying 
" statesman " upon his faithful tenant, we have one 

yo Alexander Craig Gibson. 

of those striking illustrations which help to give 
us a clearer insight into the springs of human 
character, and which will be found to lie at the 
bottom of most of oiu* better actions. 

In the foregoing remarks I have spoken plainly 
and heartily of this author's productions ; indeed, so 
much so that some may be inclined to think there 
is room enough left for adverse criticism and fault 
finding. AVell, be it so. But I have chosen the 
sunnier side of my subject, and for this simple 
reason — that these pieces have never yet failed of 
putting me in good humour with myself and every 
thing around me. This being the case, it will be 
readily perceived how unfitted I have been for 
carping or grumbling at any of the shortcomings 
•which they may possess. Such as these ballads 
and stories are, then, I gladly welcome them, with 
an earnest wish that we may have more of the same 
class from the same hand, in which kindness and 
fun and homely truths are made to mingle and co- 
mingle, and over which we and our children can 
laugh and enjoy ourselves, and our children's 
children after us. 



[Here first printed.] 

]AL Dinah Grayson's fresh, fewsome, an' free, 
Wid a Hit iv her step an' a glent iv her e'e ; 
* She glowers ebbem at me' whativer I say, 
An' meastly mak's answer wid " M'appen I may ! " 
"M'appen I may," she says, "m'appen I may; 
Thou thinks I believe the', an' m'appen I may ! " 

Gay offen, when Dinah I manish to meet 
O' Mundays, i' t' market i' Cockerm'uth street, 
I whisper, " Thou's nicer nor owte here to-day," 
An' she cocks up her chin an' says, "M'appen I may ! 

M'appen I may, my lad, m'appen I may ; 

There's nowte here to crack on, an' m'appen I 
may ! " 

72 Alexander Craig Gibson. 

She's smart oot o' dooars — she's tidy i' t' hoose ; 

Snod as a mowdy-warp — sleek as a moose. 

I' blue goon, i' black goon, i' green goon or grey, 

I tell her she's reeght, an' git "M'appen I may !" 
" M'appen I may," she'll say, " m'appen I may, 
Thou kens lal aboot it, but m'appen I may ! " 

There's nut mickle on her— we ken 'at gud stuff 
Laps up i' lal bundles, an' she's lal aneuf ; 
There's nowte aboot Dinah were better away 
But her comical* ower-wurd " M'appen I may." 
"M'appen I may," it's still, "m'appen I may." 
Whativer yan wants yan gits "m'appen I may." 

An' it shaps to be smittal ; whoariver I gang, 
I can't tell a stwory — I can't sing a sang — 
I can't hod a crack, nay ! — I can't read or pray 
VVidout bringin' in her dang't " M'appen I may." 
"M'appen I may," it cums, "m'appen I may;" 
Asteed of Amen, I say "ln'appen I may." 

But she met me ya neeght aside Pards'aw Lea yatt — 
I tock her seaf hekm, but I keep't her oot leat. 
An' offen I said i' my oan canny way, [I may ! 

"Willt'e hke me a lal bit ?"—" Whey,— M'appen 

M'appen I may, Harry — m'appen I may ; 

Thou's rayder a hoaf-thick, but m'appen I may ! " 

* Comical, used thus, means Pert, in central Cumberland. 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 73 

I prist her to wed me — I said I was pooar, 
But eddlin aneuf to keep hung-er fray t' dooar. 
She leuk't i' my feace, an' than, hoaf turn't away, 
She hung doon her heid an' said " M'appen I may ! 
M'appen I may ! "—(low doon)— "m'appen I may, 
I think thoo means fairly, an' m'appen I may." 

We're hingin' i't' bell reaps* — to t' parson I've toak't, 
An' I gev him a hint as he maffelt an' jwoak't, 
To mind when she sud say " love, honour, obey," 
'At she doesn't slip through wid her "M'appen I 
M'appen I may, may be — m'appen I may, 
But we moont put up than wid a "m'appen I may." 

* During the period required for the publication of bauns,^ a 
couple are said, figuratively, to be "hinging in t' bell ropes." 

74 Alexander Craig Gibso7i. 


[Here first printed.] 

Far oot on Blakefell, 

We sat by oorsel's, 
When t' breeze up frae Lamplugh 

Brong t' soond o' church bells. 
Jiittg tee ching — Ring tee ching — 

Ching, com the'r chime, 
While we crooch't up togidder, 

Oor hearts beatin' time. 

White cloods sail't owre us — 

The'r shadows trail't by, 
To t' fells croodit inland, 

Wid heids pressin' t' sky ; 
An' deep into Cogray* 

Strang sunleet strack doon, 
Till how, moss, an' meedow 

Oan't Sunday foornoon. 

Level, fornenst us, 

A lark teunn't its sang ; 

r t' ling-bloom aside us 

Broon bumlies wer' thrang ; 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 75 

An' t' wind whushin' east'art 

Brong t' ching tee ching clear, 
Till yan on us whisper't — 

" Is't reet to be here % " 

" Reet to be here ? Ey ! 

We're bund to be reet, 
Wid that sky for oor ceilin', 

This fell for oor seat ; 
T' green how for oor fut-steul, 

T' free air for oor pew ; 
An' us, oor two sel's. 

Congregation anew. 

<' We've t' Pillar*^ for parson, 

Knock-murton* for t' dark. 
For t' orgins an' t' singers — 

T' breeze, bumlies, an' lark ; 
An' a floor stritch't frae Lamplugh 

Owre Dean an' Greyseun 
Till t' sea an' dim Scotland, 

Wi' t' cloods clwose abeun. 

" For sarvice — w^e want nin ! 

Oor thowtes, risin' high, 
Ir hftin' oor hearts up 

Throo yon fleckert sky. 

76 Alexander Craig Gibson. 

We're narder to gud here 
I' mair ways nor yan, 

Nor if we kneel't under 
A roof rais't by man." 

Weel's me ! for oald Blake-fell ;* 

Weel's me for that time 
When we lean't on that brant spot 

An' h'ard that bell's chime ; 
An' I preach't that lal sarmon, 

Sa barne-like an' queer. — 
We've bekth lang been thenkful 

For t' gud we gat theer. 

* Cogray Moss, where, formerly, horse races and other 
sports were held, forms the floor of a remarkable dell, closed 
in by The How, between Blakefell and Knockmurton, the 
principal fells abutting upon the fair vale of Lamplugh. The 
Pillar is the predominating member of the adjacent Ennerdale 
range of mountains. 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 77 


[Here first printed.] 

"Git oot wid the', Jwohnny, thou's no'but a fash; 
Thou'll come till thou raises a desperat clash ;* 
Thou's here ivery day just to put yan aboot, 
An' thou moiders yan terrably — Jwohnny, git oot ! 

What says t'e? I's bonnie? Whey! That's nowte 

'at's new. 
Thou's wantin a sweetheart?— Thou's hed a gay few! 
An' thou's cheatit them, yan efter t' t'udder, nea 

doubt ; 
But I's nut to be cheatit sea — Jwohnny, git oot ! 

There's plenty o' lads i' beath Lamplugh an' Dean 
As yabble as thee, an' as weel to be seen ; 
An' I med tack my pick amang o' there about — 
Does t'e' think I'd ha'e thee, than % Hut, Jwohnny, 
git oot ! 

* Clash — Scandal. 

78 Alexander Craig Gibson. 

What? Nut yan amang them 'at likes me sa weel? 
Whey, min — there's Dick Walker an' Jonathan Peel 
Foorsettin' me ola's i' t' lonnins aboot, 
Bekth wantin' to sweetheart me — Jwohnny, git oot ! 

What 1— Thou will hev a kiss?— Ah, but tak't if 

thou dar ! 
I tell the', I'll squeel, if thou tries to cu' nar. 
Tak' care o' my collar— Thou byspel, I'll shoot. 
Nay, thou sha'n't hev anudder — Noo Jwohnny, git 


Git oot wid the', Jwohnny — Thou's tew't me reet sair; 
Thou's brocken my comb, an' thoo's toozelt my hair. 
I willn't be kiss't, thou unmannerly loot ! 
Was t'ere iver sec impidence ! Jwohnny, git oot ! 

Git oot wid the', Jwohnny — I tell the', be deun. 
Does t'e thinkl'll tak'upwidAnn Dixon'soald sheun"? 
Thou ma' ga till Ann Dixon, an' pu' hur aboot, 
But thou s'alln't pu' me, s^a — Jwohnny, git oot ! 

Well ! That's sent him off, an' I's sworry it hes ; 
He med ken a lass niver means hoaf 'at she says. 
He's a reefc canny fellow, howiver I floot. 
An' it's growin o' wark to say "Jwohnny, git oot !'' 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 79 

[Here first printed.] 

My fadder said "Nay" — an' my mudder said 
" Niver ! " 

WTien Willie furst telt them we wantit to wed ; 
We mud part — they said, beath — part at yance an' 
for iver, 

An' she deavet me to deeth aboot foats 'at he hed. 
A sailor was Will, forret, free-tonguet, an' funny. 

An' gi'en till o' manner o' teulment was he ; 
Rayder lowce i' religion, an' careless o' money. 

But dear was my wild thowtless Willie to me. 

His life seemed mead up of arrivin's an' sailin's — 

Rough hardship at sea, an' fair daftness at heam. 
I cry't ow'r his danger — I pray't ow'r his failin's, 

An' offen forgev what I cudn't but blekm. 
An' many a frind an' relation, an' neighbour 

Brong hints an' queer teals aboot Will to poor me ; 
But neighbours an' frinds gat the'r pains for the'r 

For t' mair they misco't him t' mair thowte on 
was he. 

8o Alexander Craig Gibson. 

An' t' upshot of o' the'r fine hints an' advices 

Was 'at, ya neet, weel happ't i' Will's greit sailor 
We dreav, afoor dayleet, to Foster Penrice's, 

An' slip't ow'r till Annan i' t' Skinburneese bwoat. 
An' theer we wer' weddit, i' their way o' weddin' ; — 

I dudn't hafe like't, but they said it wad dee ; 
An' I dar-say it may'd — for a lass 'at was bred in 

Their ways — but it wasn't like weddin' to me. 

An' when Will brong me back, varra sham-fe^cet 
an* freetent, 

Ower t' sin an' disgrace on't my mudder went 
wild. — 
Sair, sair dud my heart sink, but bravely it leeten't 

^^^len Will prist me close up beside him, an' smil'd. 
My fadder said lal, no'but whishtit my mudder, 

An' pettit an' blest me wid tears iv his e'e ; 
Till bekth on us ru't what hed gi'en him sec bodder, 

An' sham't of our darrak steud Willie an' me. 

Eigh — for loave, he was kind ! an' he wad hev us 
As t' rest of his barnes hed been — menseful an' 
reet — 
He leuk't at oor Scotch weddin'-writin' an' read it, 
But went up to t' Priest's aboot t' license that neet. 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 8i 

An' he keep't me at beam, though v/e hed a hoose 
He sed he mud hev me, while Will follow't t' sea. 
An' Will ! weddin' mead him douce, careful, an' 
An' he's hoddenly been a gud husband to me. 

He seun hed a ship of his oan, an' mead money, 

An' seav't it, what he reckoned harder by far ; 
An', ola's weel-natur't, free-heartit an' funny, 

He mead his-sel frinds wid whativer com' nar. 
An' es for my mudder, 'at thowte me so silly, 

An' lang nowte but bad i' poor Willie wad see, 
I's thenkful she leevet to say — " Bless thee son Willie, 

Many cumforts we've hed, but meast cumfort i' 


82 Alexander Craio Gibson. 

[Here first printed.] 

Green hills rise i' ranges, 

Green meedows streek low 
Alang becks creepin' beath ways, 

An' bekth chrissen'l Pow."* 
Thear' mair heeghts nor hollows, 

Thear' mair steans nor trees, 
An' mair wind nor's vvantit 

At Breezy Sent Bees. 

Thear' a sea like green crystal, 

A clean pebbly shore ; 
Thear' sand-beds when t' tide's low 

Stritch't — whoa may tell whoar % 
Thear' crags edgin' t" heid-lan's — 

Hee rocks fit to freeze 
Yan wid fear to leuk ow'r them, 

At Breezy Sent Bees. 

* The vale of St. Bees extends northwards to Whitehaven, 
and at each end a sluggish brook called Pow-beck runs into 
the sea. 

Alexander Craiz Gibson. 8 

•,y \^t i^u^u iif. vj J 

Its air hes fresh life in't, 

Its sky's offen clear ; 
Though t' teun's rayder oaful 

'At Natur' plays theear, 
When t' west wind's wild tribble 

Cums screamin' through t' sea's 
Roarin' bass under Tomlin 

To Breezy Sent Bees. 

Thear' a scheul an' a college, 

Wid larnin' unbowte, 
Whoar they mak' scholars gratis 

An' priests for hafe-nowte; 
Thear' a grand Abbey Church 

Wid a tooar, abeun t' trees, 
Bevell't off blunt an' ugly 

At Breezy Sent Bees. 

Thear' faymish oald stwories. 

Like nin we mak' noo. 
An' mooldy-growne merricles 
Yance reckon't true. 

84 Alexander Craig Gibson. 

Thear' rare oald wife 'santers 
Queer aneuf to be lees, 

Stuck up for like gospel 
At Breezy Sent Bees, 

Breezy Sent Bees ! 

T' varra soond niak's yan thrill, 
Leeght'nin' up thowtes an' fancies 

Alive in yan still ; 
An' 'yont hoaf a life time, 

Far back-kest, yan sees 
A lad wid two sweethearts 

At Breezy Sent Bees. 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 85 


[Here first printed.] 

O for Billy Watson' lonnin'of a lo\\Tid summer neeght ! 
When t' stars come few an' flaytely, efter weerin' 

oot day-leeght — 
When t' black-kite blossom shews itsel' i' hafe-seen 

gliffs o' grey, 
An' t' honey-suckle's scentit mair nor iver it is i' t' 

An' nut a shadow, shap, or soond, or seeght, or 

sign 'at tells 
'At owte 'at's wick comes santerin' theer but you, 

yer oan two sel's. 
Ther' cannot be anudder spot so private an' so sweet, 
As Billy Watson' lonnin' of a lownd summer neeght I 

T' Hempgarth Broo's a cheersome pleace when t' 

whins bloom full o' flooar — 
Green Hecklebank turns greener when it's watter't 

wid a shooar — 
There's bonnie neuks aboot Beckside, Stocks-hill, 

an' Greystone Green — 
High Woker Broo gi'es sec a view as isn't ofifen seen — 

86 Alexajidei' Craig Gibson. 

It's glorious doon ont' Sandy-beds when t' sun's just 

gan to set — 
A.n' t' Clay-Dubs isn't far aslew when t' wedder isn't 

But nin was me^d o' purpose theer a bonny lass to 

Like Billy Watson' lonnin' of a lownd summer neeght. 

Yan likes to trail ow'r t' Sealand-fields an' watch for 

t' comin' tide, 
Or slare whoar t' Green hes t' Ropery an' t' Shore 

of ayder side — 
T' Weddriggs road's a lal-used road, an' reeght for 

coortin toke — 
An' Lowca' lonnin's reeght for them 'at like a 

langsome woke — 
Van's reeght aneuf up t' Lime-road, or t' Waggon 

way, or t' Ghyll, 
An' reeght for ram'lin's Cunning-wood or Scatter- 

mascot hill. 
Ther's many spots 'at's reeght aneuf, but nin o' 

ways so reeght 
As Billy Watson' lonnin' of a lownd summer neeght. 

Alexander Craig Gibson. Z'j 

Sec thowtes as thur com' thick lang sen to yan, a 

lonterin' lad, 
VVid varra lal to brag on but a sperrit niver sad, 
When he went strowlin' far an' free aboot his sea-side 

An' stamp't a mark upon his heart of ivery frind-like 

neam ; — 
A mark 'at seems as time drees on to deepen mair 

an' mair — 
A mark 'at ola's breeghtens meast i' t' gloom o' 

comin' care; 
But nowte upon his heart has left a mark "at hods 

so breeght 
As Billy Watson' lonnin' of a lownd summer neeght ! 

Oor young days may'd be wastet sair, but dar their 

mem'ry's dear ! 
And what wad yan not part wid noo agean to hev 

them here? 
Whativer trubles fash't us than, though nayder leet 

nor few, 
They niver fash't us hafe so lang as less an's fash 

us noo ; 

88 Alexander Craig Gibson. 

If want o' thowte brong bodderment, it pass't for 

want o' luck, 
An' what cared we for Fortun's bats, hooiver feurce 

she struck % 
It mud be t' time o' life 'at mead oor happiness 

I' Billy Watson' lonnin' of a lownd summer neeght! 


Bonnie Mary Ray an' me 

Wer' barnish sweethearts lang, 
But I was wild an' yung, an' she 

Was niver reetly Strang ; 
Sooa frinds o' bekth sides threep't it sair 

'At partit we sud be — 
An' life was darken't t' lang-er t' mair 

To Mary Ray an' me. 

But yance lal Mary Ray an' me 

Met oot on Woker Broo, 
When t' clouds burn't reid far oot at sea, 

An' t' sun com' bleezin' through, 

Alexander Craig Gibson. 89 

An' sent ya lang-droan glissenin' gleam 

Across that dowly sea, 
Like t' leetenin' up o' life's dark dream 

To Mary Ray an' me. 

An' "Sees t'e, Mary Ray," I says, 

" That lang low line o' leet ; — 
It cums to say oor leater days 

May yit be fair an' breet, 
An' t' cloods 'at darken owre us noo 

May rive like yon we see, 
An' t' sun o' love cum glentin through, 

To shine on thee an' me." 

But Mary lean't her sinkin heid 

Agean my heavin' breist. 
" Turn roond," she said, " an' say asteed, 

What reads t'e here i' t' East ; 
For t' East's mair sure to guide us reet, 

If dark an' coald it be ; 
It's liker life — nor that reid leet — 

To Mary Ray an' thee." 

I turn't an' leuk't wid bodeful glooar, 

Whoar o' was coald an' gray, 
An' like a ghost rease t' white church tooar, 

To freeten whope away ; 

go Alexander Crai^ Gibson. 

An' Woker's shadow heap't a gloom 
Owre beck, an' field, an' tree, 

'At said far darker days mud cum 
To Mary Ray an' me. 

An' niver mair on Woker Broo 

I strowl't wid Mary Ray ; 
They partit us that winter through — 

An' than I went away. 
An' Mary in t' churchyard they'd laid 

When I com' back frae t' sea ; 
'Twas true what Woker's shadow said 

To Mary Ray an' me. 


Cursty Benn of Under-Skiddaw 

Leev't on t' land whoar he was bworn ; 
Eight-ty yacre, lea an' meedow — 

Forty, green-crop, seeds an' cworn. 
Cursty' wife, a fewsome body, 

Brong him barnes, some nine or ten, 
Menseful. meat-heal, fat an' ruddy ; — 

"Whoar's their like?" said Cursty Benn. 

A lexander Craig Gibson. g i 

Cursty bed ya mortal failin' — 

Whoa may say they've less nor that? — 
Rayder fond was he o' trailin' 

Off frae heam an' bidin' leat. 
Fray Kes'ick Kit was ola's leatish ; 

Hoo that com' t' wife gat to ken, 
When i' t' market neets she'd nwotish 

Signs o' drink i' Cursty Benn. 

Cursty' wife was kind an' canny, 

Nowder gi'en to flyte nor fret ; 
" Weel aneuf," she said, " I ken he 

Mayn't be cured by sulks an' pet ; 
But I moon't sit by an' see him, 

Gear an' grun' spang-hew an' spen', 
I mun gang till Kes'ick wi' him ! " 

Nowte agean't said Cursty Benn. 

When they dadg't away togidder, 

O' row't reet a canny bit ; 
Cursty, pleas't to market wid her, 

Tiped his pints, but dudn't sit. 
No'but for a bit it lastit— 

Sooa 't's been afoor an' sen ! 
When fwoke thowte she'd wiled him past it, 

TuU't agean went Cursty Benn.— 

9^ Alexander Craig Gibson. 

TuU't agean i' t' public-hooses, 

Whilk an' Cursty dudn't care ; 
Adam Gill's, or Mistress Boose's, 

T' Yak, t' Queen's Heed, or t' Hoonds an' Hare. 
Through them o' t' wife whiles went laitin' — 

Whiles, for hours an' hours an' en', 
In their shandry sat she waitin', 

Coald on t' street, for Cursty Benn. 

Ya' fine neet when leat she gat him — 

Fairly fworc'd to flyte, t' poor deam 
Lowsed her tongue reet freely at him, 

While t' oald yoad went stammerin' heam. 
Whietly Kit bore her clatter, 

Nea back-wurd he'd gi'en her, when 
T' mear pu't up aside some watter ; — 

" Drink, gud lass ! " says Cursty Benn. 

Lang she dronk, an' lood she gruntit. 

Till a gay gud drain she'd hed ; 
Than as t' rsvoad yance mair she fruntit, 

Cursty' wife tuU Cursty said — 
" Sees t'e, min ! that pooar oald mear. 

When she's full, she's t' sense to ken ; 
Can't thoo tak' a pattren bee her — 

Drink an' deun wi't, Cursty Benn?" 

Alexander Craig Lribson. 93 

" Whey ! " says Kit, "but turn that watter 

Intili yall, wid udder yoads 
Swattin' roond it — hoddin' at her — 

TeUin' her t' time mak's na odds — 
Shootin' oot, ' Here's te the', Cursty ! ' — 

(Mears is niears — men's nowte but men !) — 
But I durst lay a pund 'at durst Ee, 

Shi^ sit on — hke Cursty Benn ! " 

Note. — Of this anecdote different versions are current, 
and various localities are assigned to it — Scotch as well as 
English. I presume to consider, however, the Cumberland 
version, as given above, the best of all that have been given. 


OHN PAGEN WHITE was born in How. 
gill Street, Whitehaven, on the 27th of 
'' May, 18 1 2, and removed with his parents 
to Egremont about 1824. While there he attended 
the school at Catgill Hall, kept by the Rev. — 
Underwood, and was afterwards placed under the 
tuition of the Rev. T. Tyson, at or near Gateshead. 

At si.xteen he became an articled pupil with 
Messrs. Reay and CoUinson, surgeons, in extensive 
practice in Liverpool ; and afterwards studied at 
King's College, London. Was admitted a member 
of the College of Surgeons in 1837, and advanced 
to the higher dignity of a Fellow of the same 
College in 1868. In the interval, and uj) to the 
time of his death, he resided and practised in 
Liverpool, where he was greatly valued in his pro- 
fessional, esteemed in his social, and beloved in 
his more intimate and domestic relations. 

He was bound to his native district by an attach- 

yohn Pagen White. 95 

ment which strengthened with advancing years ; 
and a cherished object with him was to acquire 
such a modest competency as might enable him to 
settle down in retirement amid the scenery and the 
people he loved so well. This object was all but 
attained, when an affection of the throat, fatally 
aggravated by exposure, incurred in the over- 
conscientious discharge of a professional duty, , 
brought his useful and (to many) invaluable life to 
a close on the 27th of September, 1868. He 
accepted and awaited the fate which his medical 
knowledge told him was inevitable, with the calm 
fortitude of a brave man, and the cheerful hope- 
fulness of a true Christian ; quietly setting forth his 
wishes with regard to his interment, the disposal of 
his MS. literary works, the distribution of keepsakes 
to friends, and other matters, and resigned a life 
which so recently held out the prospect of happy 
years in store, with a smile which remained to 
beautify his refined features so long as they were 
visible to the friends in whose lives the change so 
welcomed left a blank that may never be made up. 
He was, by his own desire, buried at Ireby, in 
Cumberland, in which locality his paternal ances- 
tors had resided, and where the most of them were 

96 John Pagen White. 

Many years ago Mr. White published a small 
volume of what he afterwards called his 
"Juvenilities," a series of short odes and poems 
which, though favourably criticised, and shewing 
fine taste and great facility of versification, scarcely 
foreshadowed the powers evinced by their author, 
when, in his latter years, he devoted a portion of 
his leisure to poeticising the legends, old supersti- 
tions, and traditional anecdotes of Cumberland. A 
large collection in manuscript of the results of this 
labour of love, illustrated with valuable and very 
copious notes, was left by him in charge of the 
writer of this notice, and of that collection the 
four pieces given here may be accepted as fair 

A. C. G. 

* Since the above was written ihc manuscripts alluded to 
have been published under the title of Lays and Legends 
of the English Lake Country, but owing to the ill health of 
the writer of the above, the volume was edited by Mr. White's 



■ [Giltstone Rock lies off the harbour at Harrington, on 
the coast of Cumberland, and is only visible at low water 
during spring tides. The Gleemen, or Waits, as the Christ- 
mas minstrels are called, still keep up their annual rounds, 
with song and salutation, and with a heartiness and zeal, which 
have been well described by the great Poet of the Lake district 
in those feeling and admirable verses to his brother. Dr. 
Wordsworth, prefixed to his Sonnets on the River Duddon.] 

HE Betsey Jane sailed out of the Firth, 
As the Waits sang " Christ is born on 
earth" — 
The Betsey-Jane sailed out of the Firth, 

On Christmas-day in the morning. 
The wind was East, the moon was high, 
Of a frosty blue was the spangled sky, 
And the bells were ringing, and dawn was nigh, 

And the day was Christmas morning. 
HI. 7 

98 John Pagen White. 

In village and town woke up from sleep, 
From peaceful visions and slumbers deep — 
In village and town woke up from sleep, 

On Christmas day in the morning. 
The many that thought on Christ the King, 
And rose betimes their gifts to bring. 
And "peace on earth and good will" to sing, 

As is meet upon Christmas morning. 

The Betsey-Jane pass'd village and town, 

As the Gleemen sang, and the stars went down— 

The Betsey-Jane pass'd village and town, 

That Christmas-day in the morning ; 
And the Skipper by good and by evil swore, 
The bells might ring and the Gleemen roar, 
But the chink of his gold would chime him o'er 

Those waves, next Christmas morning. 

And out of the Firth with his reckless crew, 
All ready his will and his work to do — 
Out of the Firth with his reckless crew 

He sailed on a Christmas morning ! 
He steer'd his way to Gambia's coast ; 
And dealt for slaves ; and Westward cross'd ; 
And sold their lives, and made his boast 

As he thought upon Christmas morning. 

John Pagen White. 99 

And again and again from shore to shore, 
With his human freight for the golden ore — 
Again and again from shore to shore, 

Ere Christmas-day in the morning, 
He cross'd that deep with never a thought 
Of the sorrow, or wrong, or suffering wrought 
On souls and bodies thus sold and bought 

For gold, against Christmas morning ! 

And at length, with his gold and ivory rare, 
When the sun was low and the breeze was fair — 
At length with his gold and ivory rare 

He sailed, that on Christmas morning 
He might pass both village and town again 
When the bells were ringing, as they rung then, 
When he pass'd them by in the Betsey-Jane, 

On that last bright Christmas morning. 

The Betsey-Jane sailed into the Firth, 

As the bells rang " Christ is born on earth" — 

The Betsey-Jane sailed into the Firth, 

And it it'as upon Christmas morning ! 
The wind was west, the moon was high, 
Of a ?iazy blue was the spangled sky. 
And the bells were ringing, and dawn was nigh, 

Just breaking on Christmas morning. 

lOO Jolin Pagen White. 

The Gleemen singing of Christ the King, 
Of Christ the King, of Christ the King — 
The Gleemen singing of Christ the King, 

Hailed Christmas-day in the morning ; 
When the Betsey-Jane with a thundering shock 
Went ripping along on the Giltstone Rock, 
In sound of the bells which seemed to mock 

Her doom on that Christmas morning. 

With curse and shriek and fearful groan, 
On the foundering ship, in the waters lone — 
With curse and shriek and fearful groan, 

They sank on that Christmas morning ! 
The Skipper with arms around his gold, 
Scared by dark spirits that loosed his hold, 
Was down the deep sea plunged and roll'd 

In the dawn of that Christmas morning : — 

While village and town woke up from sleep. 
From peaceful visions and slumbers deep — 
While village and town woke up from sleep, 

That Christmas-day in the morning ! 
And many that thought on Christ the King, 
Rose up betimes their gifts to bring, 
And, " peace on earth and good will to sing," 

Went forth in the Christmas morning ! 

"jfohn Pagen White. loi 


[The anecdote upon which the poem is founded was related 
by a person who about fifty years ago was much acquainted 
with what was current in some of the principal families in the 
West of Cumberland. She stated that it was commonly 
repeated among the servants of the different houses, and was 
quite credited by them : and that she herself had not any 
doubt as to the truth of the stor}% but could not give the 
period to which the circumstances refer. One of the domestics 
of the Hall was said to have been surprised by her master in 
the manner described, and to have been overheard by him, 
uttering the words, — 

" Who knows what may happen, or what may befall? 
I may be Lady of Workington Hall !'' 

The butler was instructed to repeat the words publicly in the 
presence of the Maid, who fled from the mansion, over- 
whelmed with confusion. She subsequently formed a matri- 
monial alliance with a principal member of the family ; and 
thus in a manner her prediction was verified.] 

In her neat country kirtle and kerchief array'd, 
A wild httle maiden tripp'd through the green shade ; 
With her pitcher, just filled from the rill, at her side, 
And a song on her lip of the Solway's rude tide ; 
When a rider came by, gallant, youthful, and gay — 
" Pretty Maid, let me drink ! and good luck to 
your lay ! " 

[02 John Pagen White. 

As he glanced o'er the brim, arch and sweet was 

her smile ; 
Then " Adieu ! " passing on, he sang gaily the 

while — 
" Who knows what may happen, or what may befall ? 

I may be " something she could not recall : 

For the tramp of his steed mingled in with the tone, 
And the burden ceased, broken — the singer was 


There are words, notes, and whisperings, broken 

and few, 
That from depths in the soul will oft start up anew, 
Like a dream voice, unconsciously, early or late. 
Mid all changes of circumstance, fortune, and fate, 
Unappealed to, unsought for, unreck'd of, and 

From afar to the tongue without effort or thought. 

And 'twas thus the few notes which she caught of 

that strain 
Often stirr'd on the lips of the Maiden again. 
When a child at the school or a maid at the Hall — 
" Who knows what may happen or what may befall % 
I may be — " lilted she low as she sate 
At her finger-work meekly, or stroll'd by the gate. 

John Pagen White. 103 

So it chanced as she robed on one morning her 

With a mantle of state, in her lost Lady's room ; 
While the mirror gave back to her sight all her 

charms ; 
Came that strain to her lip as she folded her 

arms — 
" Who knows what may happen, or what may befall \ 
I may be — Lady of Workington Hall ! " 

Thus the wild-hearted Maid ended gaily the song. 
Like a flash from the mirror it glanced from her 

Void of meaning or thought of the future ; but lo ! 
There's a witness beside her the glass does not 

From a distance unseen are displayed to the eyes 
Of her Lord all her pranks in that courtly disguise. 

He charged the proud Butler, that evening to call 
To high feast all the maidens and grooms of the 

I04 yohfi Pagen White. 

To send round the bowl, and when mirth flowing 

Brought the heart to the lip, the bright soul to the 

At the sound of his footstep to crown their good 

With a round to the toast he has breathed in his 


Bold and stern, on that evening arose mid the crowd 
The bold Butler, and called for a bumper aloud : 
Look'd around on the bevy of maidens and men : 
Glanced his eye past the Beauty, and spoke out 

again — 
" Who knows what may happen, or what may befall % 
Let us drink to the Lady of \\'orkington Hall." 

How they stared at each other, how glanced at their 

As he entered that moment and stood by the board, 
How they trembled to witness his eye's flashing 

Was a sight to be seen that no art can pourtray. 
But the one conscious Maid who could read it 

With a shriek, like a vanishing spirit was gone. 

John Pagen White. 105 

But in vain ! What the fates have determined will 

come ! 
And in time, tired of clangour of trumpet, and drum. 
Came the Heir to the Hall of his ancestry old ; 
Met the Maid of the pitcher once more as he 

stroll' d ; 
Woo'd and won her, in spite of whate'er might 

befall ; 
And made her the Lady of Workington Hall. 


[In the parish of Bootle is a small inlet of the sea, called 
Selker's Bay, where the neighbouring people say, that in calm 
weather the sunken remains of several small vessels or galleys 
can be seen, which are traditionally stated to have been sunk 
and left there on some great invasion of the northern parts of 
this island, by the Romans, or the colonizing Northmen.] 

Twelve sunken ships in Selker's Bay 
Rose up ; and, righting soon. 

With mast and sail stretched far away 
Beneath the midnight moon. 

io6 yohn Pagen White. 

They sailed right out to Bethlehem ; 

And soon they reached the shore. 
They steered right home from Bethlehem ; 

And these the freights they bore. 

The first one bore the frankincense ; 

The second bore the myrrh ; 
The third the gifts and tribute pence 

The Eastern Kings did bear. 

The fourth ship bore a little palm 

Meet for an infant's hands ; 
The fifth the spikenard and the balm ; 

The sixth the swathing bands. 

The seventh ship bore without a speck, 

A mantle fair and clean ; 
The eighth the shepherds on her deck 

With heavenward eyes serene. 

One bore the announcing Angel's song ; 

One Simeon's glad record ; 
And one the bright seraphic throng 

Whose tongues good tidings poured. 

John Page7i White. 107 

And midst them all, one, favoured more, 

Whereon a couch was piled, 
The blessed Hebrew infant bore, 

On whom the Virgin smiled. 

They sailed right into Selker's Bay : 

And when the night was worn 
To dawning grey, far down they lay, 

Again that Christmas morn. 

But through the brushwood low and clear 

Came chimes and songs of glee, 
That Christmas morning, to my ear 

Beneath Kirk-sunken Tree. 

Not from the frosty air above, 

But from the ground below, 
Sweet voices carolled songs of love, 

And merry bells did go. 

From out a City great and fair 

The joyous life up-flow'd, 
Which once had breathed the Uving air, 

And on the earth abode. 

io8 JoJi7i Pagen White. 

A City far beneath^my feet 

By passing ages laid ; 
Or buried while the busy street 

Its round of life convey'd. 

So to the ground I bent an ear, 
That heard, as from the grave, 

The blessed Feast-time of the year 
Tell out the joy it gave ; 

The gladness of the Christmas morn. 

O fair Kirk Sunken Tree ! 
One day in every year's return 

Those sounds flow up by thee. 

They chime up to the living earth 

The joy of them below, 
At tidings of the Saviour's birth 

In Bethlehem long ago. 

John Pagen White. 109 


[A fine oak foitnerly stood by the way side, near Hornby 
Hall, about four miles from Penrith on the road to Appleby, 
which, from a pair of stag's horns being hung up in it, bore 
the name of Hart's- Horn Tree. It grew within the district 
which to this day is called Whinfell Forest. Concerning this 
tree there is a tradition, confirmed by Anne, Countess of 
Pembroke in her memoirs, that a hart was run by a single 
greyhound (as the ancient deerhound was called) from this 
place to Red-Kirk in Scotland, and back again. When they 
came near this tree the hart leaped the park paling, but, being 
worn out with fatigue, instantly died ; and the dog, equally 
exhausted, in attempting, to clear it, fell backwards and ex- 
pired. In this situation they were found by the hunters, the 
dog dead on one side of the paling, and the deer on the other. 
In memory of this remarkable chase, the hart's horns were 
nailed upon the tree, whence it obtained its name. And as 
all extraordinary events were in those days recorded in rhymes, 
we find the following popular one on this occasion, from which 
we leam the name of the dog likewise : — • 

Hercules killed HearJ-o-Grease, 
And Heart-o-Grease killed Hercules.] 

When wild deer ranged the forest free, 
Mid Whinfell oaks stood Hart"s-Horn Tree ; 
Which, for three hundred years and more, 
Upon its stem the antlers bore 
Of that thrice-famous Hart-of-Grease 
That ran the race with Hercules. 

I lo y 0/171 Pagen White. 

The King of Scots, to hunt the game 
With brave de Clifford southward came : 
Pendragon, Appieby, and Brough'm, 
Gave all his bold retainers room ; 
And all came gathering to the chase 
Which ended in that matchless race. 

Beneath a mighty oak at morn 
The stag was roused with bugle horn ; 
Unleashed, de Clifford's noblest Hound 
Rushed to the chase with strenuous bound ; 
And stretching forth, the Hart-of-Grease 
Led off with famous Hercules. 

They ran, and northward held their way ; 
They ran till dusk, from dawning grey ; 
O'er Cumbrian waste, and Border moor. 
Till England's line was speeded o'er ; 
And Red-kirk on the Scottish ground 
Mark'd of their chase the farthest bound. 

Then turned they southward, stretching on. 
They ran till day was almost gone ; 
Till Eamont came again in view ; 
Till Whinfell oaks again they knew ; 
They ran, and reached at eve the place 
Where first began their desperate race. 

John Pa^eii White. 1 1 1 

They panted on, till almost broke 
Each beast's strong heart with its own stroke ! 
They panted on, both well nigh blind, 
The Hart before, the Hound behind ! 
And now will strength the Hart sustain 
To take him o'er the pale again 1 

He sprang his best ; that leap has won 
His triumph, but his chase is done ! 
He lies stone dead beyond the bound ; 
And stretched on this side lies the Hound ! 
His last bold spring to clear the wall 
Was vain ; and life closed with his fall. 

The steeds had fail'd, squires', knights', and king's. 
Long ere the chase reached Solway's springs ! 
But on the morrow news came in 
To Brough'm, amidst the festive din, 
How held the chase, how far, how wide 
It swerved and swept, and where they died. 

Ah ! gallant pair ! such chase before 

Was never seen, nor shall be more : 

And Scotland's King and England's Knight 

Looked, mutely wondering, on the sight. 

Where with that wall of stone between 

Lay Hart and Hound stretched on the green. 

I 1 2 yohfi Pagen White. 

Then spoke the King — " For equal praise 
This hand their monument shall raise ! 
These antlers from this Oak shall spread ; 
And evermore shall here be said, 
That Hercules killed Hart-of-Grease, 
And Hart-of-Grease killed Hercules. 

" From Whinfell woods to Red-kirk plain, 
And back to Whinfell Oaks again, 
Not fourscore English miles would tell ! 
But" — said the King — "they spann'd it well. 
And by my kingdom, I will say 
They ran a noble race that day !" — 

Then said de Clifford to the King — 

" Through many an age this feat shall ring ! 

But of your Majesty I crave 

That Hercules may have his grave 

In ground beneath these branches free, 

From this day forth called Hart's-Horn Tree." 

And there where both were 'reft of life. 
And both were victors in the strife, 
Survives this saying on that chase, 
In memory of their famous race — 
" Here Hercules killed Hart-of-Grease, 
And Hart-of-Grease killed Hercules." 


HE little market towTi of Ulverston nestles 
snugly at the foot of the green-clad, monu- 
ment-crowned hill of Hoad ; which, with 
the variegated surroundings of the waters of More- 
cambe Bay, serve travellers from the south as a sort 
of modest prelude to the coming glories of the Lake 
country. Rather uneven and jolty are the paved 
parapets of this old-fashioned Lancashire towTi, to 
any one accustomed to the smoother flagstones of 
larger and busier marts of commerce ; nevertheless, 
there lingers about its quiet streets and compact 
dwellings a snug and cozy aspect, which can hardly 
fail to leave a pleasant recollection behind. Looking 
from the top of Hoad, in the direction of Conishead 
Priory, the eye takes in the village of Dragley-beck, 
with its humble thatched cottage of one storey, in 
which Sir John Barrow first breathed the breath of 
life, and where his school-days and years of early 
manhood were passed. But now another Fumess 
Worthy claims our attention and sympathy ; a man 
III. 8 

1 1 4 John Stanyan Bigg. 

whose richly dowered and imaginative mind formed 
a marked contrast to that of the shrewd, practical, 
business-like Secretary to the Admirality. 

John Stanyan Bigg, the eldest of a family of five 
children, was born in Ulverston on the 14th day of 
July, 1828. His father carried on a drapery busi- 
ness in the town for many years, but retired in 
middle life ; and afterwards, I believe, underwent 
some trying reverses of fortune. A noticeable 
man of grave and thoughtful aspect, he was in the 
simplicity of his faith, almost devoid of subterfuge 
or suspicion towards others. His son says of him, 
that he could be stately on occasions ; but his 
general deportment was that of a God-fearing, man- 
loving man, who, through all the vicissitudes and 
temptations of trade, had never stained his soul with 
a falsehood. When young he had " got good," (as 
the phrase goes,) under the Wesleyans in London, 
had joined that body, and through hfe continued to 
be one of its most unassuming, intelligent, and 
tolerant members. 

At home young Stanyan displayed an inherent 
love for all sorts of mischief One Sunday morning, 
while his father was busily engaged in preparing 
notes for use in the pulpit, the boy indulged himself 
in pinning a huge play-bill to the end of his 
paternal coat-tails ; then telegraphed the success of 
his manoeuvre to his little sister, who, being tickled 

John Stanyan Bigg. 1 1 5 

by the comicality of the scene, burst into a merry 
fit of laughter. His mother looking up from her 
book, to ascertain the cause of the girl's vivacity, 
exclaimed: — "A dreadful play-bill, I declare! 
Stanyan, you wicked boy, where did you get it % " 
To this question the lad replied, in an apologetic 
tone, that the nurse had given it to him. "Take it 
off — take it off at once," cried his mother, in her 
sternest manner, "and then take yourself out of the 
room ! " 

At eight years old the boy was sent to the 
Town-bank grammar school at Ulverston, where he 
received the rudiments of a general useful education. 
Being at first extremely sensitive and retiring, he felt 
the severity of the master's treatment very keenly, 
and was for a time much bullied and tormented by 
the rougher sort of boys in the school, whose coarse 
language and uncouth ways contrasted painfully 
with the propriety and decorum of his own home. 
By degrees, however, he mingled more freely with lads 
of his own age in out-door pastimes, and soon became 
as expert as any of them at running, leaping, foot-ball, 
" catty," wrestling, and other North Country sports. 
To this followed what he himself styled, a period of 
constitutional laziness, and for a time he was more 
frequently flogged than any boy in the school, and 
most probably was the oftenest at the bottom of the 
class ! Gradually growing more mischievous, and 

1 1 6 John Stanyan Bigg. 

full of all sorts of daring pranks, he chanced one 
day to have some difference with the bully of the 
school, a much bigger and stronger boy than him- 
self Taunting Stanyan with being a " Methody," 
and following it up with calling his father "a canting 
hypocrite," had the eflfect of sending his young blood 
boiling through his veins, and the result was that a 
challenge was given and accepted, and a pitched 
battle agreed on as soon as the school closed. 
During the time several of the earlier rounds were 
being fought, Stanyan, though he displayed both 
tact and endurance, received severe punishment ; 
but the tables turning suddenly, our hero ultimately 
came off victorious. When his father's eye fell on 
his bruised face at home, a glance told all. In a 
firm, but grieved tone of voice, he said to him : — 
" Stanyan ! you are a shame to be seen ! Go to 
bed at once ! " Scarcely had the boy undressed him- 
self and lain down on his pillow, ere his two brothers, 
having heard tidings of the fight, came scuftering in 
hot haste into the room in their night dresses, all 
aglow with curiosity and excitement. The whole 
story was told to them from beginning to end, and 
then with an exultant " Oh, Stanyan !" the two lads 
scampered back again to their own apartments.* 

* For other incidents in his early career, related in graphic 
language, let the reader consult "Alfred Staunton, a Novel," 

John Stanyan Bigg. 1 1 7 

Before leaving the Town-bank school a marked 
change stole over the lad's spirit. He became as 
noted for his diligence as he had been previously 
for his indolence, and his natural quick intellectual 
capacities soon enabled him to outstrip most of the 
boys in the school. Among the books he read at 
this time, was the " Arabian Night's Entertainment," 
which so possessed his youthful imagination, that he 
quite distinguished himself as a tale-teller of the 
wonderful and marvellous among his school-fellows. 

About the age of thirteen he was sent to a 
boarding school in Warwickshire, in order to " finish 
off," or, rather, render more complete, the education 
he had already obtained. His father retiring from 
business, (shortly after the son had finally left 
school,) removed to the vicinity of Penny-bridge, a 
village charmingly situated near the outlet of the 
Crake river, which flows from Coniston water, 
through a green sylvan valley of some half dozen 
miles in length. Here amid scenes of much natural 
beauty, w^hile rising into early manhood, his ardent 
poetic temperament budded into verse, some frag- 
ments of which displayed no inconsiderable amount 
of promise for one so young. At the early age of 
eighteen he had finished a poem of six lengthy 
cantos, which was published in 1848, under the title 
of the "Sea King," and dedicated to Sir Edward 
Bulwer Lytton. 

1 1 8 John Siajiyan Bigg. 

Soulby's Ulverston Advertiser being established 
when he was in his nineteenth year, young Stanyan 
was chosen its first editor, and as things turned out 
the choice was in many respects a fortunate one. 
He entered upon the arduous duties with much 
enthusiasm, and displayed both tact and vigour in 
conducting the new print. One cannot say, how- 
ever, of newspaper editors as a class, that they are 
allowed to luxuriate on beds of roses, or that they 
belong to the order of 

The gentlemen of England who live at home at ease, 
for a more laborious, irksome profession, or one 
more fruitful in creating pale faces and aching heads, 
can scarcely be imagined. 

In 1849, a squabble struck up between the 
youthful editor of the Advertiser and John Wild, a 
schoolmaster, at Kirkby Ireleth, near Ulverston, 
the latter being a contributor to the Lancaster 
Gazette. Among other things. Wild gravely reminded 
Bigg, that once upon a time the "English Review," 
in its notice of his juvenile poem, said, that in 
comparison to Lord Byron he was " but as a cat 
to a tiger "(!) This sally seemed to tickle Bigg 
amazingly. He laughed heartily at its resuscitation, 
and then with a facetious stroke or two of the pen 
went on to compare the said Review to an old 
7uo}nan's washing tub., in its assumption of making 
every thing clean which passed through it ! In this 

yohn Stanya7i Bigg. 1 1 9 

controversy Bigg wrote with a fine flow of animal 
spirits; poked his fun here and there and every- 
where; chaffed "the Kirkby Ireleth double U" 
about writing his epitaph, till the poor schoolmaster 
cried out in despair, " Now don't," and the wicked 
editor in reply, said consohngly, "No, no, I won't!" 
Then again they have another fling anent their 
professions, and Bigg finally winds up by quizzing 
him with one or two home thrusts after the following 
fashion : — " Heaven mend your grammar, dominie! 
for it is indeed sadly out at elbows." 

In order to give the reader a specimen of how the 
tilting was conducted on Bigg's side, the following 
paragraph is quoted from an article headed, " A 
pair of Nutcrackers for John-the-Wild, Philomath, 

Solomon was generally reported to be the wisest mortal that 
ever Hved ; but, lo ! a wiser than Solomon is here. "The 
Solomon of the Advertiser lies prostrate at my feet," exclaims 
the puissant Philomath, "and now for other game." Accord- 
ingly, stealing a stray feather here and there from certain 
long-forgotten and seedy criticlings and newspaper humourists 
belonging to the "dark ages," whose wit consisted in making 
divers complimentary allusions to old women and tea-cups, 
John comes forth with a swagger, full-plumed for the contest. 
Flushed with fancied victorj', and crowing over an imaginary 
Solomon, he cocks his eye upon — the Editor, you will say-^ 
no, upon — his shirt collar ! ! Laugh as you will, it is never- 
theless a fact. . . And now take a peep at the strange 
animal if you please. Saw you ever such a comical phiz- 
such a weasoned specimen of the human face divine ? Not 

1 20 John Stanyan Bigg. 

exactly sicklied o'er by the pale hue of thought, but yellow 
wth suppressed spleen, and with a hundred jutting and 
irascible angles threatening the unwai^ ; eyes looking a 
thousand daggers in as many different directions, and features 
all crumpled and gone astray ; whose chief proturberance 
reminds us forcibly of the source of the Duddon.* 

At this early period Stanyan Bigg's personal 
appearance was somewhat noteworthy, being seldom 
or never seen without an everlasting book under his 
arm, as he passed through the streets of Ulverston ! 
A pale face set off in striking contrast to raven-black 
curly hair; a slim built figure, about the middle 
height, arrayed in suit of faultless black ; and an 
immense Byronic turn-down collar, (upon which poor 
John-the-Wild fell foul) \ presented to one's mind a 
picture not altogether unlike that of a literary fop. 
And yet when his dark piercing eye fell upon you, 
there was the thoughtful look and the earnest 
manner, which made you feel that you stood in the 
presence of a man worth calling a man — one who 
was cast in a very different mould to any glib- 
tongued dandy of the period. 

About half a dozen years after the appearance of 
the " Sea King," with powers more fully developed, 
Bigg published a dramatic poem, entitled " Night 
and the Soul," which, though marred by extrava- 
gances in some parts, was nevertheless full of genius 
of a high order, and gave indications of much future 

* Wrynose. 

John Stanyan Bigg. 121 

promise. It made its appearance in the columns 
of The Critic; then in a collected form ; and was 
very appropriately dedicated to the author's brother 
James. The germ of this fine poem — though in all 
probability the writer of it was unconscious of the 
fact — may be found in a remark of Lord Bacon's 
where he says, that Philosophy, when studied super- 
ficially, leads to unbelief and atheism ; but when 
profoundly understood, produces veneration for 
God, and renders faith in him the ruling principle 
of life. The work — which was soon after re-issued 
in America — was the means of bringing his name 
prominently before the literary world, and did much 
to establish his fame. It placed his name, too, in 
close affinity with a rising school of young poets, of 
whom Philip James Bailey, the author of " Festus," 
was the acknowledged leader and representative — 
a school which was satirically dubbed " the 
spasmodic," and which provoked from the pen 
of Professor Aytoun a clever burlesque poem, 
entitled " Firmilian, or the Student of Badajos." 

On the publication of " Night and the Soul " in 
a collected form, the Athenceum fell foul of it in a 
very savage and unmerciful article. To this notice 
George GilfiUan, (who had taken an active part in 
launching the poem before the public,) lost no time 
in replying, through the columns of the Critic; and 
by being thus put upon his metal, he wrote much 

122 yolui Stajiyan Bigg. 

more carefully and tersely than it was usual for him 
to do. As one of the curiosities of literary criticism 
in the nineteenth centur}', the leading points on 
both sides are here reproduced. The writer in the 
AthencEum says : — 

At present Mr. Bigg appears, in comparison of a real poet, 
what a London acrobat is to an Olympian athlete. He is all 
spurt, and fizz, and crack, and blaze, like a damp night at Vaux- 
hall. He is an Indian juggler, whom we stare at because he 
throws odder somersaults than his brethren. He is far gone in 
poetical epilepsy, and has an unwholesome predilection for 
moon and star light. He uses a volcano of words, and writes 
as if he laboured under the influence of Fuseli suppers, 
November weather, and the remembrance of nightmare. . . 
But it is on the stars, already sufficiently treated by Mr. Bailey 
and mal-treated by Mr. Smith, that Mr. Bigg plays the wildest 
of his fantasias. He has evidently gone through a dictionary, 
comparing the stars to every noim in the language, and then, 
shaking up his similes in a bag, used them as wanted. The 
stars are drunken and stagger through the clouds, — they are 
jewels on Night's black hands, — they are a sisterhood, — they 
hang on the bosom of infinity, — they bum as tapers,— they 
embroider heaven, — they have a chit-chat together, they peach 
about events to come, they weep long and sadly, — they wear 
fimeral robes, — they drop like ripe apples, — they tell the earth 
she is lovely, — they wheel stricken round the sky, — they form 
strings on the neck of heaven, — they bud and blow,— they are 
little and patient, they are tears upon Night's face, — they melt 
in the arms of morning— they form the veil of summer, — they 
are monetary, eternal, and wealthy, — they tremble, and dance, 
and lurk, — they are swallowed by Night as the pearl was by 
Cleopatra, — they turn pale : — in fact, they do everything which 
it is impossible for stars to do. 

The impulses of Gilfillan's nature generally may 
be said to be just and generous, but his expressions 

John Stanyaii Bigi^. 1 2 


have frequently been rash and foohsh in the extreme. 
The following extract gives the main features of his 
rejoinder to this article; and as I have before 
hinted, he weighs his words carefully, and keeps to 
his subject more closely than it is customary for 
him to do. It cannot be denied, however, t^at 
those parts of his letter which bear more directly 
upon "Night and the Soul," do his critical judgment 
and goodness of heart much credit 

I cannot allow the grossly-prejudiced and most imfair 
criticism on my yoimg fiiend Bigg's poem to pass without 
uttering my earnest protest. I have read scores of critiques 
in the Atketuzum distinguished by deUB'erate untruth and 
systematic injustice ; but this stands facile princeps — nay, I 
doubt if in any journal it has ever been paralleled. The 
writer has set to work upon the plan, first, of culling out all 
the fault)' expressions in the first work of a young poet, and 
stringing them together as if he had fotmd them crowding 
every page, instead of, as is really the case, being dispersed at 
great distances throughout the volume ; secondly, of tearing 
some of the beauties of the poem fi-om their context, and 
thereby giving them the aspect of blemishes ; thirdly, of 
applying an intensely prosaic standard to the most imaginative 
and impassioned poetrj- — a process the which the poetry of 
Shakspere and Milton themselves could not endure ; fourthly, 
of ignoring altogether the existence of the many superb and 
highly finished passages, and the exquisite lyrics which the 
volume contains ; and, lastly, of throwing out the dark charges 
of profanity and blasphemy against the author. 

With regard to Mr. Bigg's faults no one sees them more 
clearly than I do ; but they are faults of a generous and a noble 
kind — sflendida vitia — and faults which their derider could no 
more commit than he could create a star. Some of them are 

124 John Stanyan Bigg. 

faults incident to all such genius as Mr. Bigg possesses, and 
which, had the critic taken the trouble to read the whole 
poem, he would have seen that the poet had nearly outgrown, 
in the mere course of its composition. Others were necessary 
as developing the character and marking the deep conflicts of 
mind ascribed to the principal character, whom Mr. Bigg had 
first plunged into the gloom and almost maniacal despondency 
of doubt, that he might bring him out at last into the tranquil 
light and profound peace of faith. The critic — after being in 
the beginning repeatedly guilty of the sins of mangled metaphor 
and exaggerated language, which he charges against the poet 
— in his enumeration of the similes which Mr. Bigg had derived 
from the stars, has, with considerable dexterity, clashed the 
bad and the good together, so as to produce, as he wshed, a 
monstrous effect. He does not seem to be aware that in one 
or two of the boldest of these, the "profane" poet has the 
example of Scripture. The critic laughs at him for saying 
that the stars are to "fall like apples." This is one of the 
things which he sagely says a "star cannot do" — forgetting 
that the author of a book called "The Apocalypse" had 
spoken of the "stars of Heaven falling like untimely Jigs." 
But stars, it seems, cannot "weep," nor "speak," nor even 
"hang;" (!) and there is still another thing which it is 
fortunate for this writer they cannot Ao— laugh, at a malignant 
dunce trying to revile and degrade a man of genius. 

The sting, however, of this attack lies in the following sen- 
tence : "We must object to the profane, to the blasphemous 
spirit of the book." I brand this sentence. Sir, as a vile 
calumny — as a wilful falsehood. There are daring and profane 
expressions, indeed, in "Night and the Soul," just as there 
are in Milton's " Paradise Lost," and that for a similar reason. 
Milton was depicting and dramatising a devil, and was obliged 
to nuike him speak in character. Bigg is painting a man 
plunged in the deepest waters of scepticism, and is compelled 
to put into his mouth language suitable to his tortured and 
despairing feelings. But to charge these to the account of the 

yohn Stanyan Bigg. 125 

author is outrageously unjust. And as to the "spirit" of the 
poem, I venture to affirm — what, indeed, I never heard denied 
before — that it is more profoundly Christian — more humbly 
devout — more blessedly childlike — than that of any of our 
recent volumes of poetry ; and I know that with that spirit 
the heart and character of the writer correspond. 

Clever and convinciBg as is the reasoning con- 
tained in the foregoing defence of Stanyan Bigg 
— pity it was, in one sense, that he fell into the 
hands of the "gifted" Gilfillan so early as he did, 
for under his influence he imbibed more of the 
extreme faults of the spasmodic school than he 
otherwise might have done. Pity, too, he did not 
live to prune doA\Ti some of the exuberances in 
"Night and the Soul.". With the application of his 
riper judgment, I conceive the poem would have 
undergone material transformation, and finally have 
been moulded into an edifice of better balanced 
and more artistic proportions. 

Immediately after the appearance of " Night and 
the Soul," Stanyan Bigg was induced to leave his 
native town and district, and become editor of the 
Downshire Protestant, a much more onerous and 
difficult post to fill than the one he had left behind. 
■\\Tiilst living at Downpatrick he wTOte his fine 
" Ode on the Birth of Robert Bums," which was 
selected as one of the six best among the hundreds 
sent for competition at the Crjstal Palace, on the 
centenar\' of the birth of the Scottish bard. A short 

1 26 John Stanyafi Bigg. 

literal scrap of blank verse, written about the same 
time, called " An Irish Picture," shows how truth- 
fully a man of genius could photograph the squalid 
scenes of poverty and misery around him, as for 
instance when he describes : — 

A long, lank pig, witK^ssipated eyes, 
Leading a vagrant life among the moors ; 

A windy cottage, with a leaky thatch. 
And two dim windows set like eyes asquint ; 
A bulging doorway, with a drunken lean ; 
Two half-nude children dabbling in the mire, 
And scrambling eagerly for bottle-necks ; 
A man akimbo at the open door, 
His batter'd B|it slouched o'er his sottish eyes, 
Smokingtcoh tented in the falling rain. 

In a letter from DowTipatrick to his friend and 
fellow poet, Mr. Aird of Dumfries, dated January 
31st, i858,Jhte complams that his multiform duties 
as editor left him too little time for work of a 
higher order; but adds, notwithstanding, that he 
had \\Titten a number of poems since he came to 
Ireland, and had just completed a tvvo-volume novel 
and sent it to London " in search of adventure." 
" I was most anxious, (he goes on to say,) to get the 
thing off my hands before venturing myself into the 
stormy world of London. ... I shall be 
delighted to compare notes with you ; and will let 
you know all the more important vicissitudes of 
my London career. I feel a little nervous about it. 

yohn Stanyan Bigg. i 2 7 

and, Englishman though I am, London is to me an 
unknown world. However, with youth on my side, 
(I am not yet 30,) with industrious habits, and an 
aptitude for work, I hope, with God's blessing on 
my efforts, to do well ultimately." And then in 
the same spirit of hopefulness he closes the letter 
pleasantly in the following sentence : — "I am now 
a father, my wife having made me a Christmas 
present of as hearty a little fellow as ever crowed." 

The novel mentioned in the foregoing letter, as 
having gone to London in search of adventure, is 
presumed to be "Alfred Staunton," which was pub- 
lished soon after in one volume, and dedicated to the 
author's father. Like the poem which preceded it — 
"Night and the Soul" — thiswork is ina great measure 
autobiographical, being principally drawn from the 
writer's own experience and personal observation. 
The scenes are mostly laid in close proximity to the 
town of Ulverston ; and glimpses are accordingly 
obtained of Morecambe Bay, Swarthmoor-hall, 
Coniston lake, and the scenery around Penny- 
bridge. The characters, too, are local and easily 
recognisable. Mr. Staunton and his son Alfred, 
being the elder Mr. Bigg and his son Stanyan; 
Dr. Heraud, the good vicar to all the parish dear, 
Mr. Gwillym ; Will Whigsby, " aproned and be- 
frizzled after the most approved fashion," a facetious 
barber of the town ; and stolid Mrs. Rawlinson, not 

128 yohn Stanyan Bigg. 

personally known, but an excellent type of many a 
thrifty Fumess dame. "Alfred Staunton," as an 
exponent of real life and character, is as much 
above the ordinary run of popular novels, as 
" Night and the Soul " is above the attempts of one 
half the popular wTiters of verse ; and yet, strange as 
it may seem, after many years have passed away, 
neither of these works has reached a second 
edition. A very ominous fact this, and one not 
at all calculated to encourage youthful genius in a 
similar direction ! 

In the year i860, Stanyan Bigg left Ireland, and 
for a second time entered upon his old duties in 
connection with the Ulverston Advertiser. From an 
early date he had wielded the pen of a ready writer, 
and displayed great rapidity in prose composition ; 
but after profitting by a few years more experience, 
his success in this respect was something marvellous. 
It was no unusual thing for him to dash off a news- 
paper leader amid the noise and bustle of the 
printing office, and conduct a conversation with the 
foreman at the same time — not of the crabbed, 
cross-grained kind for which editors, labouring 
under similar circumstances, are proverbial — but 
one given in a pleasant, affable, off-hand, convers- 
ational style. A remarkable instance of this kind 
occurred when he was in Ireland. One of his 
brothers, being on a visit, happened to reach 

yohn Stanyan Bigg. 129 

Downpatrick on the day preceding the pubHcation 
of the paper. Delighted to see him Stanyan was 
soon busily absorbed in conversation about home 
news, and in sho^ving him the different objects of 
interest about the place. Meanwhile the day 
passed quickly away without any "leader" being 
prepared, and at length the time of publication 
pressed so closely upon him that it became a case 
of absolute necessity to make a beginning; but 
during the whole time his pen was going he did 
little else than continue to ask and answer ques- 
tions. The leader, however, was finished in due 
course ; appeared in the paper ; and next day Bigg 
was astonished on receiving a visit from Queen's 
counsel, (it being assize time,) to compliment him 
on the merit of this very article, written under such 
peculiar circumstances ! 

In a letter to his kind and generous friend, 
Mr. Charles A. Ward of Mayfair, dated Ulverston, 
December 26th, 1861, he says : — 

I am slowly recovering from a severe attack of my old 
enemy — bronchitis. It is hereditary I fear. It killed my 
mother and sister, and has dogged my steps aU my days. It 
wiU one day run me to earth ; not just yet, I hope, for the 
sake of my family. I have been most anxious to write you, 
but have been unable to do so for some days. . . . Don't 
imagine that I am a weakling because I am generally ailing 
once or twice a year. But for these bronchial affections, I 

III. f) 

John Stanyan Bigg. 

have a capital constitution, and am physically strong — indeed 
very strong. We are nearly all athletes in this part of the 

Another letter, which contains some vigorous 
criticism, is of considerable value in shomng his 
estimate of Emmanuel Kant and his disciples ; 
and is furthermore remarkable as containing an 
acknowledgement that he himself was a Kantist or 
Transcendentalist for several years. Let the readers 
of "Night and the Soul" note this fact. With the 
reflection of such a light cast upon the poem, an 
additional lustre is thus given to its perusal. 

Advertiser OS^CQ, Ulverston, April 3, 1862. 
My dear Ward, — I am afraid I angered you in my last in 
reference to Kant. I spoke bitterly, 1 fear, because T felt 
bitterly for years of life wasted and worse than wasted, for 
they were years without faith and hope — without the other 
Immanuel, in fact. Owing to Kant, or rather to his disciples, 
Fichte and Hegel, this world was, (owing, perhaps, to my 
want of positive contact with its affairs,) a mere dream, and 
the next life a matter of deep uncertainty. I confess I don't 
know enough of German as yet to be able to read Kant in the 
original, but I have read two translations of his Critik, and a 
sketch of his life by De Quincey. If any man ever was a 
Kantist, that is a Transcendentalist, I was, and that for several 
years. Of course it is not fair to charge Kant with conclusions 
which are those of his disciples, unless it can be demonstrated 
that they are the legitimate issues of his own reasonings, and 
come inevitably out of his "method." This I think can be 
easily demonstrated in the case of Fichte, at least, who, 
without Kant's originality, was even a more inexorable logician 
than his master himself. Now Fichte, to me, is simply the 

yolin Stanyan Bigg. 1 3 1 

apotheosis of Despair. He was a grand man, lived a grand 
unselfish life, but was, I firmly believe, the only man who ever 
lived in the absolute sense without God in the world. This 
he certamly did ; for if there is any meaning in words, God 
Himself, the universe, his dearest friends, were merely his 
Non-Ego, and at last, according to this wonderful school of 
thinkers — the profoundest (negatively) that ever existed — it 
became demonstrable that that which cannot be conceived is 
certainly non-existent. 

Now, without ever turning a single page of Sir W. Hamilton 
in my life, I came ultimately to his conclusions — that the science 
of the Absolute, &c.. Ontology, in fact, is an impossibility, 
and that the very reason which undertakes the demonstrations 
necessarily condemns them as not only inconclusive but 
impossible. Hamilton, I understand, is just the antithesis of 
Kant, and was a man in all respects his equal. That Kant 
was one of the greatest thinkers of all ages I do not deny, for 
it would be folly to do so ; but that Kantism is true I do not 
believe. Pray, read Mansell's book, just to please me ; and 
then say whether I am right or wrong in my opinions. 
Mansell bears the same relation to Hamilton as Fichte bore 
to Kant. He is, as I understand, a stricter logician than 
even Hamilton. 

At last, the printing of my book is nearly completed, and 
the publisher has written to say that I must give him a list of 
firiends to whom I want it sent, in sheets, for early notice. I 
have named you. Of course you will have your own copies 
afterwards. I am writing very hastily, in a storm of proofs. 

I heard from Tennyson a week or two since. I have 
promised since to send a copy of my volume. Affectionately 
yours, J. Stanyan Bigg. 

P.S. — I know you to be THOROtJGH ; and in saying what I 
said, I merely meant that I thought you had been looking at 
Kant through the glorious spectacles of S. T. Coleridge as I 
did myself, i. e. , critically. 

132 Jo Jin Staiiyan Bigg. 

In the spring of 1862, he issued a small volume 
of miscellaneous poems, entitled " Shifting Scenes 
and other Poems," which was the last work he 
published. This collection shows the wonderful 
stride its author had made in point of concentration, 
ripeness, and mellowness. Such pieces as " Little 
Jane," "The Huguenot's Doom," "Summer," "The 
Two Graves," " Only a little House," and " Yan or 
two lile bits i' t' Fumess dialect," contain an amount 
of pathos, feeling, and originality, which have seldom 
been surpassed. Among the dialect productions of 
the Lake Country, I confess we have nothing finer 
to offer of their kind than the three brief lyrics in 
the Fumess vernacular, and few indeed — alas ! too 
few — which breathe so much genuine poetic feeling. 
Would that their author had left a dozen or two 
more such charming snatches of local melody ! 

Touching a review of "Shifting Scenes," and 
divers other matters, he writes to Mr. Ward, in 
June, 1862, as follows: — 

Just a line to thank you for the review in Bell. I thought 
it well written, and assuredly it was very friendly. As for 
"dramatic power" — pooh ! If I haven't got it, I haven't, 
and there's an end on't. 

You say that life has ceased to be picturesque. I dare say 
it is so with you in London. Here it is pretty much the same 
as it was in the days of Chaucer ; and this fact has kept me veiy 
busy ; for, all through Whit-week there are rustic festivities, 
&c., which have to be noted in the newspaper. 

Jo Jul Stanyan Bigg. 133 

, on his way north, was to have been here on Friday 

last ; and from a letter received from him, I expect he wiU be 
here on Tuesday (to-morrow. ) . . When will you come 
to the lake-land ? You will always be welcome at 7> Hoad 

In the following address to his ^vife, we get a 
delightful glimpse into the young poet's home-Hfe 
at Hoad Terrace, and the domestic happiness 
which then encompassed him on various sides :— 

Well, dear I our little world is hushed and still. 
And the great world is far away, as we, 
Sitting together, on this tranquil night. 
Pause in our talk, and think a little while, 
And look into the fire, and see the past 
Unfold itself, and all its scrolls flash up 
In sudden sparkles of s%vift thought. 

Our boys 
Are in their cradles, safe and well ; and dreams 
Are filling both their baby-hearts and souls. 
Our eldest child was \vith us as we walked 
Over the hills, and through the woods to-day. 
For the first time ; — his little trotting steps 
Falling on both our hearts, like music heard 
When heads are bowed, and the cathedral chant 
Goes up to God on faltering steps of prayer. 
Here are the sticks I cut for him ; and he. 
With the imagination of a child, 
Pronounced them taU as trees ; and, in his hands, 

They towered up lofty as the Alpine pines 

Our little darling Jacky ! — Hope and pride 
Of both our hearts. 

134 yohn Stafiyan Bigg. 

And little Harry, too, 
Is lying in his cot — our "two-year old" — 
With smiles dimpling his little happy face 
Into angelic sweetness : — Bless them both ! 
"Grandpa" has said "Good-night," and all is hushed ; 
You, sitting at your customary work, 
Ask for a story. Well, then, take these lines — 
The echo of a legend from afar, &c., &c. 

To Mr. Ward he again wTites from Ulverston, 
on June 23rd, 1862 : — 

has been here and has gone again. He came on 

Wednesday, and left on Saturday. He has talent certainly ; 
readiness, ebullience, reading ; in a word, he is no doubt 
brilliant and clever. The mischief of it is, he shows all he is 
and has. He has no reticence. He isn't an owl like me, 
nor does he take up his abode in the halls of Silence. Fact 
is, he talks too much, and is one may say, tediously talented, 
without that genius which would make his talk loveable. As 
for the man I like him. I am sorry thai you and he have 
dropped asunder, though I don't wonder at it. He is, in a 
limited sense, sparkling, but shallow — too much of the latter 
to be truly humorous — to say nothing of being philosophical, 
of which (philosophy, I mean, ) he knows as much as my poor 
dear old dead Tom-Cat, " Teddy." Peace to the ashes of the 
latter ! 

I don't know the particulars of the quarrel between you and 

, if quarrel it was, but I do know that he still talks of 

you affectionately, and greatly regrets the estrangement. 

I must (nay I'll not !) apologise for keeping Carlyle's capital 
-V letter so long. He can write at any rate, let us say what we 
\vill of his philosophy. 

You say — in a tone of pity for my foolish credulity — that 
you are glad to find that I believe life to be picturesque in this 
neighbourhood. It is so nevertheless for many. Mitu is 

John Stanyan Bigg. 135 

commonplace enough ; but our yeomen and shepherds are 
pretty much as they were before the Norman conquest, speak- 
ing the same dialect, and following the same pursuits as their 
"forelders." Come and see, O noble savage ! 

You have become a barbarian of late, have you? Well, 
you'll add to the picturesque, and I'll be Dr. Syntax, though 
it seems I shan't have far to go in search of what I want. 
Don't be afraid of being bored with talk ; for I am, as you 
say, an owl — though I sorech a little sometimes. 

De Chatelain has translated "Little Jane" into French, 
and wants to do more. Am I not one of the immortals ? 
Old King Cole was a merry old soul, &c. 

The next letter to Mr. Ward is a remarkable one 
in its way. After dealing out a satirical fillip or two 
against his old enemy the Athenceum, for its review 
of " Shifting Scenes " ; he passes on to make a few 
pimgent remarks on the writing of Thomas Carlyle; 
and then winds up \vith a masterly sketch of the 
sturdy " 'statesmen " of the Lake Country, in which 
he says, with a touch of genius, that they " summer 
themselves in God's glad sunshine, and drink the 
North wind with a snort of delight." 

Ulverston, July 5, 1862. 

^ly dear Ward, — Don't be surly now, and call me 
unbusiness-like, with all the &c., &c., &c's., because I didn't 
write sooner. I didn't because I couldn't^ergo, I didn't. 

Many and hearty thanks for your multiplied Jcindnesses. 
As for the Athenceutn, it has noticed my book after a fashion. 
I was hoping for a good "walk in ;" but haven't got it. I 
suppose there were not so many extravagances as in "Night 
and the Soul," and it was therefore hardly worth while to 
pitch into it with a will. Eveiything about the notice is so 

I 36 John Stanyan Bigg. 

puny, the pats on the back (I beg pardon, a little lower down 
than the back !) so dainty, the hand — well ringed and gloved, 
no doubt — being hastily withdrawn on finding what it had 
done — and the blame being administered in such infinitessional 
dozes, that nobody %vith a head on his shoulders, and brains 
in his head, would know what to make of it all. No matter. 
Dear Miss Athenreum, I am much obliged for your kindness ; 
just as much for your blame ; thank you for nothing, and let 
me pass on. 

Your notice of Carlyle was really good — bardic, (I'll tell 
you what I mean by that some day. ) I have not seen the 
book, but shall dip into it, by and bye — not out of any interest 
I have in the subject, but for the sake of T. C's. suggestions. 
He is full of pith and power, though he teaches nothing but 
savagery. Some wise-acre, several years ago, in one of the 
Quarterlies, tried to make it out that Carlyle, stripped of his 
eccentricities of style, &c., was nobody and nothing. The 
man was, of course, a fool ; for, shorn of these, he would still 
be a Sampson, though a beardless and blind one. Emerson 
has more insight, more subtlety and depth, but not a tenth 
part of the power and picturesqueness. 

Pity me on, O dear Misanthrope, who hurling denunciations 
against the world, would, nevertheless, give it his heart's 
blood to better its condition — because I believe that life is 
beautiful, peaceful, comfortable, nay, holy among the moun- 
tain glens up yonder. If it is not so, it oiis^hf to be. As a 
class there is none so independent as our northern yeomanry, 
who till their own soil, consume their owm produce, and sell 
the cattle and the corn they do not want to buy the articles 
they cannot grow — who summer themselves in God's glad 
sunshine, and drink the North-wind with a snort of delight — 
who care nothing for cash, cotton, and the rate of discount — 
who have plenty of this world's goods, and who have God's 
bounty and beauty forevfer folding them in. They may not 
have an eye to see all this ; but it is there, and it is theirs. 
Would that I were a yeoman, up yonder ! 

yohn Stanyaii Bigg. 137 

Well, I am not. I must do the best I can, and not try to 
be, but BE content. God be with you. Affectionately yours, 

J. Stanyan Bigg. 

The last fragment of a letter which I shall quote 
is from one addressed to Mr. Aird, of Dumfries, 
bearing date April 27, 1864. 

Having become proprietor of the Ulverston Advertiser — of 
which I was the first editor when I was uuder twenty years 
old — I find I have little time for book- writing ; though I keep 
projecting and planning new books, as though the world was 
not already weary of what it has got. However, for the 
present I am silent, although I had planned out some work 
for last winter, which I have not even touched. My hands 
are pretty well filled with editorial and proprietorial duties ; 
but as I am becoming more accustomed to the latter, they are 
growing less and less irksome. 

Heavily burdened as Stanyan Bigg often was 
with editorial duties, the wonder is that he found 
any leisure at all for cultivating the pursuits of pure 
literary work. With difficulties pressing awkwardly 
upon him, he once said to a friend, " My living 
must be drawn from my inkhom ! " For the 
practical business of life, he possessed- so few 
capabilities that he figured little better than a 
child amongst it. He was far too trusting and 
unselfish towards others, ever to have made much 
mark in a commercial point of view. The cool 
calculating spirit, the hard driving of a bargain 
element, and the like characteristics, were altogether 
wanting in his nature. A brief year or two of the pro- 

13^ John Stanyan Bigg. 

])rietorship of the Advertiser had barely passed away, 
however, when he was suddenly cut off by an attack 
of apoplexy, on the igth of May, 1865, at the early 
age of thirty-six. 

His death caused a feeling of profound regret 
among a large circle of friends and literary 
compeers ; and numerous were the wreaths which 
loving hands cast upon the young poet's grave. 
Thomas Aird \vrote, and felt as he wrote, "The 
laborious duties of journalism kept Mr. Bigg from 
the full exercise of his faculties in the higher range 
of literature ; but his story of ' Alfred Staunton,' 
and one or two volumes of poetry, full of meditative 
thought, tenderness, and rich descriptive beauty, 
are no slight memorials of his gifted mind. He was 
still bent on 'fresh fields and pastures new,' when 
he was touched of God, and died in a moment. 
. . . If ever there was a Christian man who 
could be resigned and content to have his children 
(in Edward Irving's memorable words,) 'cast upon 
the Fatherhood of God,' John Stanyan Bigg was 
that man." Alexander Smith, too, paid his tribute 
in the following words: — "'On the 19th of May, 
died at Ulverston, John Stanyan Bigg, author of 
Night and the Soul, aged thirty-six. ' Such was the 
simple announcement which reached the present 

jfohn Stanyan Bigg. 139 

writer a couple of days ago ; and back there came 
on his memory the white hawthorn hedges of Lan- 
cashire, Morecambe Bay, the Valley of Nightshade, 
and the Ruins of Fumess Abbey, — localities which 
had been visited with the deceased. . . . For 
the sake of the dead man who sleeps there, the 
pretty little Lancashire town will always be a 
pleasant memory." 

In his early manhood Stanyan Bigg delivered 
several brilliant lectures on Poetry and Literature 
to the members of the Ulverston Athenseum ; and 
was a frequent contributor to some of the leading 
periodicals of the day. A short time before his 
death he contemplated writing the "Worthies of 
Fumess " ; and left behind him two unfinished prose 
tales of about one hundred quarto pages each. 
Besides the names incidentally mentioned in the 
course of this brief biographical sketch, he numbered 
among his correspondents and friends Walter Savage 
Landor, Sydney Yendys, the right honourable Joseph 
Napier, Chancellor of Ireland, and other men of 
distinguished ability. 

Whatever errors or foibles Stanyan Bigg might 
possess, no one, I think, who knew him intimately 
will deny the noble nature of the man. His high 
courage, unswerving rectitude, generous affections, 

140 James Pritchett Bigg. 

steady goodness of heart, and industrious habits, 
are quite as worthy of a place in our memories, as 
his high intellectual attainments and undoubted 


A WORD or two touching Stanyan Bigg's brother 
James. With equal power of poetic expression, 
and possibly juster perceptions of taste, it has 
sometimes caused both wonder and regret that his 
pen should not have been more prolific. As yet, I 
believe, he has only allowed some half dozen pieces 
or so to see the light. Two exquisite lyrics appeared 
many years since in " Hogg's Instructor," (included 
in this collection,) entitled "Resignation" and 
" The Old Man and the Children " ; and in a col- 
lection of fifty of the best poems on the Burns 
Centenary — published at Glasgow — will also be 
found an Ode written by him, not inferior to the 
one by his brother Stanyan, but which was not sent 
to the Crystal Palace for competition. 

Why does Mr. Bigg allow his lyre to remain 
unstrung so long? Does his native Doric not 
present a tempting field in which to try his strength, 
now and then ? 



ULD Gran'fadder Jones is stordy an' Strang ; 

Auld Gran'fadder Jones is six feet lang ; 

He hes spindle shanks, he hes lantern jaws, 
But there's neabody's laugh like his hee-haws ! 
He's first at a weddin' an' last at a fair, 
He's t' j oiliest of aw, whaiver is there ; 
For he keeps a lad's heart in his wizened auld skin, 
An' warks out his woes as fast as they're in ; 
Ye'd niver believe he'd iver seen trouble. 
Though there's times when t' auld fellow's amaist 

walkin' double ; 
He hes corns on his taes, an' t' gout i' his hands. 
An' he shivers an' shacks wheniver he stands, 
He hes t' rheumatiz, tu ; but whaiver heeard groans 
Frae t' withered auld lips o' Gran'fadder Jones? 

142 yohn Stanyan Bigg. 


T' auld man ! T' auld man ! 

He's eighty year an' mair ; 

He wrought seean, wrought leate, 

Wrought hard an' sair ; 

An' now he sits i' t' sunshine, 

Duin' aw he can ; 

Wha wod grudge him house-room ? 

Poor auld man 1 

Lang afoore we saaw t' leet, 

He was fashin' hard ; 

Indure, out o' dure, 

r shuppen, field, an' yard ; 

Lang afoore we saaw t' leet, 

He was hoddin' t' plough — 

He wrought hard for us, lads, 

We'se du t' saame now 

For t' auld man i' t' sunshine, 

Duin' aw he can ; 

Wha wod grudge him house-room ? 

Poor auld man ! 

Aw thro' t' summer sunshine 
He watches t' clouds gang by ; 
Nin can tell what wonders 
Glour up in his eye ; 

yohn^Stanyan Bigg. 143 

For far-off, an' far-off 

Aw his leeaks gang, 

Thro' many summer sunshines 

To t' times when he was Strang, 

An' laboured leate an' early 

Wi' hoe, an' speade, an' plough, 

An' dud his best for us, lads. 

As we are duin' now 

For t' auld man i' t' sunshine, 

Duin' aw he can ; — 

Wha wod grudge him house-room ? 

Poor auld man ! 


It's nobbut this time last year, come to-morn 

Sen me an' Polly walkt to U'ston fair, 

Across t' green fields an' down t' lang sunny looans, 

A good three mile an' mair. 

We stopp't a parlish bit tu, now an' then, 

An' yet it mod a' been three yirds. 

For t' time flang by at sic a reate, 

Titter nor wings o' birds. 

144 John Stanyaii Bigg. 

For sweet lile Polly was wi' me ; 
But now my heart is sair, 
For Fse see Polly, bonny Polly, 
Niver, niver mair ! 

Fd offen hid behint a dike. 

Or ligged in an empty cart 

To leeak at her, an' hear her sing, — 

An' t' sound o' her bonny voice wod ring 

An' finger about my heart. 

I dam't tell her what I felt, 

But leeakt an' leeakt an' niver stirr'd. 

Though I'd a' geen my silver watch 

Just for ya single word. 

Oh ! sweet lile Polly ! Bonny Polly ! 

Oh ! my heart is sair ; 

For I'se see Polly, gentle Polly, 

Niver, niver mair ! 

Afoore we gat to U'ston town, 
I pluckt up heart an' spak reet out ; 
She leeakt at me — the sweet lile lass — 
But what she answered matters nout. 
Fse niver forgit the words she spak 
Under that goolden sky ; 
A limmer, bonny fairy she, 
An' a gurt clodhopper 1 I 

yohn Stanyan Bigg. 145 

But niver heed ; she loved me weel ; 

That's a' I care to knaw ; 

An' it's gang wi' me, baith neet an' day, 

Through sun, an' winter snaw. 

Oh ! sweet Ule Polly, bonny Polly, 

Oh ! my heart is sair ; 

For I'se see Polly, gentle Polly, 

Niver, niver mair ! 


Little Jane came dancing 

Into the sunny room ; 

"And what do you think, papa?" she cried, 

" I saw the father of Ellen who died. 

And the men who were making her tomb ! 

And the father patted me on the head — 

All for the sake of her who is dead — 

And gave me this doll, and wept, and said 

That I was my papa's pride." 

" And so you are," with an accent wild. 

Said the widower wan. " Come here, my child !" 

IIL 10 

146 John Stanyan Bigg. 

Ah ! but her locks were fair and bright, 

Oh ! but her eyes were full of light, 

And her little feet danced in ceaseless play ; — 

" Always be glad, always be gay, 

Sing, and romp, and never be sad, 

So you will make your papa glad." 

And the little one bounded from his knee. 
Lifted her doll, and screamed with glee, 
As the sunlight fell on the floor ; 
But who is He at the open door. 
Waiting, watching, evermore — 
Whose semblance none may see — 
Who came unbidden once before. 
And hushed the harp in the corner there. 
And filled one heart with the wild despair 
Of the endless never more ? 

Stealthy his touch and stealthy his tread. 
He lays his hand on her sunny head ; — 
And who may mention the grace that has fled. 
Or paint the bloom of life that is dead ? 

The present rushes into the past. 
Nothing on earth is doomed to last. 
Summer has ended and winter is near, 
Rain is steaming on moor and mere, 
Dead leaves are on the blast. 

John Stanyan Bigg. 147 

The shutters are up in the empty room — 
Nothing to break its hush of gloom ; 
Nothing but gusts of plashing rain 
Beating against the window-pane, 
Mingled with brine swirled up from the sea, 
And thoughts of that which used to be 
And cannot be, again. 


I stand beside thy lonely grave, my love. 

The wet lands stretch below me like a bog ; 
Darkness comes showering down upon me fast ; 

The wind is whining like a houseless dog ; — 
The cold, cold wind is whining round thy grave, 

It comes up wet, and dripping from the fen ; 
The tawny twilight creeps into the dark. 

Like a dun, angry lion to his den. 

There is a forlorn moaning in the air — 

A sobbing round the spot where thou art sleeping. 

There is a dull glare in the wintry sky. 

As though the eye of heaven were red with weeping. 

148 John Stanya7i Bigg. 

Sharp gusts of tears come raining from the clouds, 
The ancient church looks desolate and wild ; 

There is a deep, cold shiver in the earth, 

As though the great world hunger'd for her child. 

The very trees fling their gaunt arms on high, 

Calling for Summer to come back again ; 
Earth cries that Heaven has quite deserted her, 

Heaven answers but in showers of drizzling rain. 
The rain comes plashing on my pallid face ; 

Night, like a witch, is squatting on the ground ; 
The storm is rising, and its howling wail 

Goes baying round her, like a hungry hound. 

The clouds, like grim, black faces, come and go. 

One tall tree stretches up against the sky ; 
It lets the rain through, like a trembling hand 

Pressing thin fingers on a watery eye. 
The moon came, but shrank back, like a young girl 

Who has burst in upon funereal sadness ; 
One star came — Cleopatra-like, the Night 

Swallow'd this one pearl in a fit of madness. 
And here I stand, the weltering heaven above, 

Beside thy lonely grave, my lost, my buried love ! 

jfohn Stanyan Bigg. 149 


Always lightest was her laughter, — 

There was dream-land in its tone ; 
Though she mingled with the children, 

Yet she always seem'd alone. 
And her prattle, — 'twas but child's talk, — 

Yet it always sparkled o'er. 
With a strange and shadowy wisdom. 

With a bird-like fairy-lore, 
Which you could not help but fancy 

You had somewhere heard before, 
In some old-world happy version 

By a bright Elysian shore ! 

All the little children loved her, — 

None so joyous in their play, 
And yet ever there was something 

Which seemed — ah ! so far away 
From the joyance and the laughter, 

And the streamlet's crisping foam, — 
'Twas as if some little song-bird 

Had dropp'd down from yon blue dome. 
Warbling still the others. 

Wandering with them where they roam, 
And yet hallowing remembrance 

With low gushes about home ! 

1 50 yoJin Stanyan Bigg. 

Oh the glory of those child-eyes ! 

Oh the music of her feet ! 
Oh those peals of spirit-laughter 

Coming up the village street ! 
Shall we never hear her knocking 

At the little ivied door ? 
Will she never run to kiss us 

Bounding o'er the oaken floor? 
Has that music gone for ever % 

Are those tender lispings o'er] 
Oh the terror ! Oh the anguish 

Of that one word, — evermore ! 

Ever was she but a stranger 

Among sublunary things : 
All her life was but the folding 

Of her gorgeous spirit-wings, — 
Nothing more than a forgetting, — 

Still she gave more than she took 
From the sunlight or the starlight, 

From the meadow, or the brook :— 
There was music in her silence, 

There was wisdom in her look, 
There was raying out of beauty 

As from some transcendent book ;- 
She was wonderful as grottoes 

With strange gods in every nook ! 

yohn Stanyan Bigg. 1 5 1 

And at night, amid the silence, 

With her little prayer-clasp 'd hands, 
She look'd holy as the Christ-church 

Rising white in Pagan lands : — 
Seem'd she but the faltering prelude 

To a great tale of God's throne, — 
As a flower dropp'd out of heaven 

Telling whither it has grown. 
But she left us — she, our angel — 

Without murmur, without moan ; 
And we woke and found it starlight, — 

Found that we were all alone. 
And as desolate as birds' nests, 

When the fledglings have all flown ! 

But our house has been made sacred, — 

Sacred every spot she trod ; 
For she came a starry preacher 

Dedicating all to God. 
Render thanks unto the Giver 

Though His Gift be out of sight, 
For a jubilant to-morrow 

Shall come after this to-night ! 
She hath left a spirit-glory 

Blending with the grosser light, 
Oh the earth to us is holy ! 

Oh the other world is bright ! 



a quaint, old fashion'd homestead, 

With its ivied towers, 
Came a Lady in the spring-time, 
Came when April's sudden showers 
Glancing through the fitful sunshine, 
Ran down rainbows into flowers ; 
And she said, " I would not murmur ; 

God's will must be done ; 
So I've brought my two twin daughters, 
And come here to feel the sun ! " 

Living in that quiet hamlet, 
Through three chequer'd years, 

She was known in every cottage ; 
And the poor tell, in their tears, 

James Pritchett Bigg. 15, 

How her presence made them happy, 
And her words dispell'd their fears, 

When she said, " O do not murmur ! 
God's will must be done ; 

Take my alms, and ask His blessing. 
And go out and feel the sun ! " 

Once a widow met her walking 

Near the churchyard stile, 
With a brow as free from sadness 

As her soul was free from guile ; 
And she whisper'd, as she join'd her, 

" Lady, teach me how to smile ! " 
And she answer'd, "Honest neighbour, 

God's will must be done ; 
And whene'er thy heart is drooping, 

Then come out and feel the sun ! 

" For I tell thee, I have troubles ; 

More than once," she saith, 
" Have I seen the face of Anguish, 

Heard its quick and catching breath ; 
Yea, three pictures in my parlour 

Are now sanctified by death ; 
Yet," she said, " I do not murmur \ 

God's will must be done ; 
But I take my t\vo twin daughters. 

And go out and feel the sun ! " 

154 yames Pritchett Bigg. 

In the rain two graves are greening, 

Greening day by day, 
And young children, when they near them 

Playing, cease to play, 
Lose their smiles and merry glances, 

And in silence steal away ; 
Yet she says, "I will not murmur; 

God's will must be done ; 
But I love the streaming starlight 

Better than this alter'd sun ! " 

Never weeps she, now they've left her, 

Weeps not in her grief. 
But she talks of shining angels 

With a wild, uncheck'd belief: 
Wlien all earthly hopes have fail'd us, 

Hopes of heaven still give relief; 
And she says, " I will not murmur ; 

God's will has been done ; 
And, though /am left in darkness, 

They are somewhere in the sun ! " 

James Pritchett Bigg. 155 


Spring was busy in the woodlands, 
Climbing up from peak to peak, 

As an old man sat and brooded, 
With a flush upon his cheek. 

Many years press'd hard upon him. 
And his living friends were few, 

And from out the sombre future 
Troubles drifted into view. 

There is something moves one strangely 

In old ruins grey with years ; 
Yet there's something far more touching 

In an old face wet with tears. 

And he sat there, sadly sighing 
O'er his feebleness and wrongs, 

Though the birds outside his window 
Talk'd of summer in their songs ! 

But, behold, a change comes o'er him : 
Where are all his sorrows now % 

Could they leave his heart as quickly 
As the gloom-clouds leave his brow % 

1 56 James Pritchett Bigg. 

Up the green slope of his garden, 

Past the dial, he saw run 
Three young girls, with bright eyes shining 

Like their brown heads in the sun ! 

There was Fanny, famed for wisdom ; 

And fair Alice, famed for pride ; 
And one that could say, " Uncle," 

And said little else beside. 

And that vision startled memories, 
That soon hid all scenes of strife, 

Sending; floods of hallow'd sunshine 
Through the ragged rents of life. 

Then they took him from his study, 
Through long lanes and tangled bowers, 

Out into the shaded valleys. 
Richly tinted o'er with flowers. 

And he bless'd their merry voices, 
Singing round him as he went, 

For the sight of their wild gladness 
Fill'd his own heart with content. 

ya77tes Pritchett Bigg. 1 5 7 

And, that night, there came about him 

Far-off meadows pictured fair, 
And old woods in which he wander'd, 

Ere he knew the name of Care ; 
And he said, " These angel-faces 

Take the whiteness from one's hair ! " 


OF SAINT John's. 

Efter meiisen an' thinken for ivver sa lang, 
I thowt I wad mak a few Cummerland sangs ; 
And I sed to mysel', befwore writen a line, 
My sangs s'all be true if t' words urrent sa fine. 

[Here first printed.] 

T'S grummel ! grummel ! grummel ! 
Fra mwornin' still till neet, 
Fra ya week en' till t' tudder 
Theer nivver newt 'at's reet : 
Fra ya year en' till t' tudder, 
It's just a constant feight, 
It's all'as grummel ! grummel ! 
His feace is nivver streight ! 

John Richardson. i 59 

I nivver saw a smile on't 

'At stay'd till yan could speak ; 
By t' sunshine gits ower t' nwose on't, 

T' clood comes on t' tudder cheek. 
It's grummel ! grummel ! grummel ! 

It's owder ower het, 
Or else it's ower frosty, 

Or else it's ower wet. 

If t' sun shines het i' summer, 

Befwore a week's gean ower, 
Aw things 'ill be clean burn't up, 

Withoot theer comes a shooer. 
An' if it rains i' hay-time, 

It's sek a desperat kease. 
T' rain-cloods ur nowt for blackness 

To t' cloods theer on his feace. 

It's all'as grummel ! grummel ! 

Beath oot o' dooers an' in ; 
At mwornin' when I waken 

He's riddy to begin, 
To grummel ! grummel ! grummel ! 

Till bedtime comes agean : 
It's seldom 'at theer owt else, 

Withoot it be a grean ! 

i6o yohn Richardson. 


Ya winter neet, I mind it weel, 

Oor lads hed been at t' fell, 
An', bein' tir't, went seun to bed, 

An' I sat be mysel. 
I hard a jike on t' window pane, 

An' deftly went to see ; 
An' when I ax't, " Who's jiken theer?" 

Says t' chap, " It's nobbut me ! " 

" Who's 7ne ? " says I, " What want ye here ? 

Oor fwok ur aw i' bed ;" — 
" I dunnet want your fwok at aw, 

It's thee I want," he sed. 
" What cant'e want wi' me," says I ; 

" An' who, the deuce, can't be? 
Just tell me who it is, an' than" — 

Says he, " Its nobbut me." 

" I want a sweetheart, an' I thowt 

Thoo mebby wad an' aw ; 
I'd been a bit down t' deal to-neet. 

An' thowt 'at I wad caw ; 
What, cant'e like me, dus t'e think? 

I think I wad like thee " — 
" I dunnet know who 't is," says I, 

Says he, "It's nobbut me." 

John Richardson. 161 

We pestit on a canny while, 

I thowt his voice I kent ; 
An' than I steall quite whisht away, 

An' oot at t' dooer I went. 
I creapp, an' gat him be t' cwoat laps, 

'Twas dark, he cuddent see \ 
He startit roond, an' said, " Who's that % " 

Says I, " It's nobbut me." 

An' menny a time he com ageann, 

An' menny a time I went, 
An' sed, " Who's that 'at's jiken theer?" 

When gaily weel I kent : 
An' mainly what t' seamm answer com, 

Fra back o' t' laylick tree ; 
He sed, " I think thoo knows who't is : 

Thoo knows it's nobbut me." 

It's twenty year an' mair sen than, 

An' ups an' doons we've hed ; 
An' six fine barns hev blest us beath, 

Sen Jim an' me war wed. 
An' menny a time I've known him steal. 

When I'd yan on me knee, 
To mak me start, an' than wad laugh — 

Ha ! ha ! " It's nobbut me." 
III. 11 

1 62 yohn Richardson. 

[Here first printed.] 

Ya roughish neet when t' wind was heigh, 
An' I laid warm an' snug i' bed, 

I lissen't as it howl'd aroond, 

An' thowt I knew just what it sed. 

It whissel't lood, an' seem't to say, 

" Just wait a bit till I git in : " 
Says I, thoo'll mebby be mistean, 

My cottage wo's ur nut sa thin. 

I thowt it hard my words, for't com 
To t' window sash vvi' sek a bang. 

An' seem't to say, " I'll come in here : " 
Thinks I, thoo'll mebby finnd thoo's wrang. 

At t' chimley top it rwoar'd oot next, 

An' seem't to say, " I'll come reet doon : " 

Thinks I, auld wind, thoo's wrang agean, 
I hev na firepleace in my room. 

It madly shak't t' lowse sleatts on t' reuff. 
An' than awhile it went away ; 

Bit com back seun, an' when it com, 
" I will be at the' ! " it wad say. 

John Richardson. 1 63 

At last it seeni't to settle doon, 
Intul a low an' murmurin' sound, 

I shut my eyes an' fell asleep, 

An' when I waken't aw was lownd. 


Auld Jobby Dixon lik't his beer ; 

An' oft he santert on 
O' market days, an' smeuk't an' sup't, 

Till t' meast o' fwok war gone : 
Bit jolly neets mak s worry mworns, 

Yan's sometimes hard it sed ; 
An' yance I cawt, nut varra seunn. 

An' Jobby was abed. 

At last he turn't oot, bit hang't like, 
He geap't an' rub't his heid : 

Says I, " Wy, Jobby, what's to deu % " 
Says he, " I's var' nar deid."^ 

164 John Richardson. 

" I seavv't thee poddish/' Betty sed, 
" Thoo'd better snap them up : " 

Says Jobby, " They may ga to t' pig, 
I cuddent touch a sup." 

Ses she, " I mass't a cup o' tea, 

Theer t' pot on t' yubben top ;" 
Ses Jobby, " Thoo may drink't theesel, 

I cuddent tak a drop." 
" I'd better mak a posset, than, 

O' milk an' good wheat bread;" 
" I cuddent swallow bite or sup 

Iv owt thoo hes," he sed. 

Auld Betty steud a bit, an' than 

She gev a wink at me : 
An' than she sed, " I dunnet know, 

I doot thoo's gan to dee ; 
What, cant'e tak a glass o' rum % 

Thoo'U mannish that, I's warn :" 
" VVy, fetch me yan," auld Jobby sed, 

I mun hev sumniet, barn." 

John Richardson. 165 

[Here first printed.] 

For fifty year o' ups an' doons 

They'd travvel'd side by side ; 
An' tean to t' tudder still hed been 

A faithful frind an' guide. 
Laal wonder 'twas when t' summons com, 

An' tean was caw't away, 
'At tudder mourn't sa bitterly, 

An' hardly care't to stay. 

He leuk't far back through memory's e'e, 

For fifty year an' mair ; 
When he was merry as a burd, 

An' she was young an' fair. 
He thowt aboot that far off time. 

When they two met at furst ; 
Na wonder noo when she was gone, 

His heart was like to burst. 

His thowts went wanderin' back to t' time 

When they two startit life ; 
When she hed nowt bit him to love. 

An' he lov'd bit his wife. 

i66 John Richardson. 

An' than when darlin's, yan by yan, 
War sent their love to share \ 

He knew 'at deeper grew their love, 
As greiter grew their care. 

An' than he thowt hoo as they com, 

They went off yan by yan ; 
Till t' last was gone, an' they war left 

Just their two sel's agean. 
An' they war groun beath auld an' grey ; 

An' 't wassent much they care't 
For owt 'at t' warld could gi' them noo, 

As lang as beath war spare't. 

Bit deeth hed caw't for tekn to gang, 

An' nin hur life could sekve ; 
An' sad it was to see t' auld man 

Stand totterin' by her greaw. 
He teuk a last lang leuk, an' than 

He slowly turn't away, 
An' murmur'd low, " I's fain to think, 

I he went lang to stay." 

yohn Richardson. 1 6 7 


Ya bonny summer neet it was, 

When days war lang leatt on i' June, 

'At efter Id me darrick deun, 
I hed an earen'd into t' toon. 

'Twas gitten dusk when I com back. 
For t' sun hed sunk doon into t' sea ; 

An' burds the'r merry sangs teun't up, 
Ameast fra iwery bush an' tree. 

When just a bit fra t' toon I gat, 

I met a young an' gradely pair ; 
I saw 'at they war gentry fwok. 

For beath leuk't smush, weel dress't an' fair. 

She held his arm, he held her hand. 
She leuk't up smirken in his feace : 

Thinks I, a witch yan needn't be. 
To know 'at that's a cwortin' kease. 

I thowt hoo happy they mud be, 

Withoot a single want or care ; 
An' nowt to deu bit bill an' coo, 

An' wander when they wad, an' where. 

1 68 John Richai'dson. 

When meusen on, nut quite content 
'At things sud seah unequal be — 

'At some sud nowt but plesser know, 
An' udders nowt but hardship see : 

Anudder pair com trailen on, 

Bit they war tramps as ragg't as sheep ; 
They'd nowder shoon nor stockin's on, 

An' t' chap leuk't Uke a chimley sweep. 

He hed his arm aroond her waist, 
An' she leuk't smirken in his feace : 

Thinks I, be aw the powers abeun. 
That's just anudder cwortin' kease. 

They seem't as happy as two burds, 
'At flit frae tree to tree i' spring ; 

For scearse ten yerds I'd gitten by. 
When beath began to lilt an' sing. 

Thinks I, this love's a curious thing : 
Them two gaan wi' the'r barfet feet, 

Seem just as happy as yon two ; 
Their kiss, na doot, 'ill be as sweet. 

yoJin RicJmrdsoji. 169 


I'd a dream t' tudder neet at bodder't me sair, 
I thowt I'd just been at a Martinmas fair; 
An' bein' varra tir't, an' nut varra thrang, 
Next mwornin' I slummer't an' laid rayder lang. 

I thowt i' me dream, when at last I gat up, 
An' Sally wi' coffee was fullen me cup ; 
'At yan o' thur pharisee fellows com in. 
An' sed 'at I'd deun a meast terrible sin. 

I knew nowt I'd deiin, an' I axt when an' where :- 
Ses he, "What, ye been at this Martinmas fair; 
An' I may's weel tell ye, 'at fwok 'at ga theer, 
'111 ga tuU a war pleace, when they ga fra here. 

" It's awful to think o' sek norrible wark 
Theer is wi' thur fairs an' this coddlin' i' t' dark ; 
An' here, doon i' Cummerland, — issent it sad % — 
Theer hofe o' fwok basterts, an' t' rest nar as bad. 

" If't wassent for me an' aboot udder ten. 
Like Sodom it wad ha' been burn't up lang sen ; 
An' that 'ill be t' end on't, wi'oot ye repent ! " — 
I thowt when he'd sed that he gat up an' went. 

I 70 John Richardson. 

I thowt i' my dream, 'twas a terrible thing, 
Sek a judgment sud ower auld Cummerland hing ; 
An' as I knew nowt 'at wad deli enny good, 
I'd better git oot on't as fast as I cud. 

Seeah, I pack't up me duds, an' set off at yance, 
An' thowt I wad tak off to Lunnen or France ; 
I thowt 'twas laal matter what way I sud gang, 
If I gat oot o' t' coonty I cuddent be wrang; 

I thowt I trudg't on till I leet iv a man, 
An' I venter't to ax him what way he was gaan : 
"To Lunnen," ses he, as he stop't an' leuk't roond: 
"I hear 'at ye're Cummerland : whoar ur ye boond?" 

" To Lunnen," ses I, " if I nobbut kent t' way, 
I've trudg't on afeiit for this menny a day ; " — 
An' than, I just telt him what sent me fra he^mm : 
Ses he, " Oh ! ye're silly an' sadly to blekme. 

" What, Cummerland fwok, let them gang whoar 

they will, 
Ur all'as respectit an' weel thowt on still ; 
An' to say they're wicked, it's aw just a farce, 
Ye'U finnd them i' Lunnen a hundred times warse. 

John Richardson. i 7 1 

" Just leuk into t' papers, theer nivver a day 
Bit barns ur fund murder't, an' put oot o' t' way ; 
An' than theer men leeven wi' udder fwok's wives, 
An' plenty 'at deu nowt bit thieve aw their lives. 

"Theer thoosands o' wimmen 'at walken on t' street, 
'111 sell their sels off to t' best bidders at neet ; 
An' t' best o' them thoosands is warse, I'll be bund, 
Nor t' warst theer can be iv aw Cummerland fund." 

I was that sair suppris't when I hard what he sed, 
'At I gev a girt rowl an' tummel't off t' bed ; 
That waken't me up, an' me ankle was leamm, 
Bit reet fain I was when I turn't up at heamm. 


I's grou'en feckless, auld, an' leamm, 
My legs an' arms ur far fra t' seamm. 

As what they use to be : 
My back oft warks, an's seldom reet ; 
I've scekrse a teuth to chow me meat, 

An' I can hardly see. 

172 yokn Richardson. 

Bit yance I cud ha' plew't or sown, 

Or shwom my rigg, or thick giirse mown, 

Wi' enny man alive : 
An' yance, when in t' Crowpark we ran, 
(An' theer war some 'at cud run than,) 

I com in t' furst o' five. 

At russelin', if I say't mysel, 
Theer wassent menny cud me fell, 

An' theer war gooduns than : 
I've russel't oft wi' Gwordie Urn, 
An' still cud fell him in my turn, 

An' he was neah bad man. 

An' who wi' me cud follow t' hoonds ? 
I've travel't Skiddaw roond an' roond ; 

An' theer war hunters than : 
Bit I was gayly oft wi' t' furst, 
An' went whoar nobbut odduns durst, 

An' nin noo leeven can. 

An' than at fair or merry-neet, 
Nin like me cud ha' us't their feet ; 

An' theer war dancers than : 
^Vhat ! noo they fidge an' nm aboot, 
Theer nowder jig, three reel, nor nowt, 

An' steps they hevvent yan. 

John Richardson. 1 73 

When I was young, lads us't to lam 
To dance, an' run, an' russel, barn, ' 

*Twas few 'at lam't to read : 
Fwok thowt their bams war sharp an' reet, 
If they cud -use their hands an' feet ; 

'Twas laal they car't for t' heid. 

Fwok use' to drink good heamm brew't yal, 
It steud on t' teable iwery meall, 

An' ye mud s\vig ye're fill : 
Bit noo theer nowt bit swashy tea, 
Na wonder fwok sud warsent be. 

Fair snafflins they'll be still. 

This warld an' me are beath alike. 
We're beath on t' shady side o' t' dyke, 

An' tumlen fast doon t' broo : 
Theer nowt 'at ivver yan can see, 
'At's hofe like what it use' to be ; 

Aw things ur feckless noo ! 

I 74 yo/iu Richardson. 


When 1 was a bit hofe groun lad, 

To Threlket fair I went ; 
Sek lots o' fwok an' sheep I saw, 

Bit varra few I kent. 
An' some theer war meadd noise eneuff, 

Bit mekst I nwotish't yan, 
'At still keep't shooten, as he talk't, 

"Git ower me 'at can." 

I ax't me fadder who he was, 

Says he, "A 'statesman's son; 
His fadder was a sekwen man, 

Bit noo he's deid an' gone : 
An' that's his eldest son an' heir, 

'At's gitten aw his land ; 
He thinks he's summet when he says, — 

' Git ower me 'at can.' " 

That chap agean I nivver saw 
For ten lang years or mair ; 

An' aw hed slip't me memory quite, 
I'd hard at Threlket fair : 

John Richardso?!,. 175 

When yance a helliday I hed, 

An' doon to Kessick ran, 
An' theer I hard a voice 'at said, — 

" Git ower me 'at can." 

Thinks I, that mun be t' 'statesman's son, 

An' ax't a chap, 'at sed, 
" Aye, that was t' 'statesman's son an' heir, 

'At land an' money hed ; 
Bit t' money's mainly gone, I think. 

An' noo he's selt his land ; " 
Just than he stacker't in, an' sed, 

" Git ower me 'at can." 

Some hofe a duzzen year slip't ower. 

An' t' heir ageann I sees : 
His cwoat was oot at t' elbows, an' 

His brutches oot at t' knees ; 
His shoon war wholl't, beath nebs an' heels ; 

Bit still his ower-teunn ran, 
As lood as when I saw him furst, — 

" Git ower me 'at can." 

Thinks I, it's queer, an' ax't a man 

If t' reason he could tell : 
"Aye, weel eneuff I can," says he, 

" He's gitten ower his-sel ; 

1 76 yoJui Richardson. 

He's swallow'd aw his fadder left, — 
Aw t' hooses, brass, an' land, 

An' twenty scwore o' sheep beside ; 
Git ower that 'at can ! " 



[Here first printed.] 

[Tradition reports that a young woman of uncommon per- 
sonal beauty was seduced by the last Lord Dacre of Naworth, 
and after having bome him a son and, as she anticipated, an 
heir to his large possessions, too late discovered the cruel 
imposition. Driven to despair, the young creature threw 
herself into the brook which washes the base of the rock on 
which the Castle is built. Her body was discovered next 
morning, by the Lord of Naworth, whilst introducing to the 
notice of his bride tlie beauties of her new home. Their only 
son survived his father but three years, being killed by a fall 
from his rocking horse, in his boyhood ; and in him ended the 
male line of the Lords Dacre of the north. The spot where 
the Lady threw herself into the brook is still considered by 
the peasantry as haunted ground ; and not a few speak of 
"The White Ladye," who is said to traverse the lonely 
hollow. ] 

HE water it sings merrilie 
Alang the castle dean ; 
The water it rins merriHe, 
The grassy banks a-tween ; 
IIL 1-J 

1 78 Peter Burn. 

An' merrilie the birdie sings, 

A-top o' the greenwood tree ; 
An' there's a heart that has a part 

In the sweet harmonie. 

O Helen was a fair lassie — 

A lassie fair was she ; 
There wasna seen a sweeter flower 

In a' the north countrie. 

O Helen was a blithe lassie — 

A lassie blithe was she ; 
There wasna heard a blither bird 

In a' the north countrie. 

Her heame was where the breckans grow, — 
Where breckans grow and ling ; 

For playmates, she had bird an' bee, 
In Summer days an' Spring : 

For playmates, she had bird an' bee, 

In Summer days an' Spring ; 
But when the year grew cold an' drear, 

She was a dowie thing. 

Ance on a weary wintry hour, 

A sprighdie youth won by ; 
Helen leuks up, wi' joy an' hope, — 

We needna wonder why. 

Peter Burn. i 79 

Helen she lo'ed the faire stranger, 

An' she was lo'ed by him ; 
She dreadeth no the blast nor snow, 

Days are na now sac grim. 

Love aye can mak a pleasant day ! 

.\n' sae whene'er he won. 
He ever yet his faire love met. 

Sweet smiling as the sun. 

The youth he is o' noble birth, 

The laird o' Nawarde he : 
The ^\-insome carl has won the girl. 

An' life gangs pleasantlie. 

The \vinter days are a' gaen by : 

The sky is cloudless now : 
Dacre has taen his darling's han', 

An' breath'd the lover's vow. 

The water it sings merrilie, 
Alang the castle dean ; 

The water it rins merrilie, 
The grassy banks a-tween : 

i8o Pete7' Burn. 

An' merrilie the birdie sings, 
A-top o' the greenwood tree, 

But ane is there that canna share 
In the sweet harmonie. 

There hasna gaen a year, a year, 

A year but barely ane, 
Syne Helen sang the whole day lang ; 

Now loud is her refrain : — 

" O wae is me ! O wae is me ! 

I'm miserable alway, 
My lover he is fause to me, 

His coldness will me slay." 

Then up an' spak the laird Dacre : — 
" What are the words I hear ? 

I loe but ane, 'tis faire Helen, — 
My love has nought to fear." 

O answer'd then the faire Helen : — 

" Gif ye are true to me, 
How cam' there a strange ladye's fan. 

Upon the blooming lea?" 

O answer'd then the faire Helen : — 

" Gif ye are true to me. 
How cam' there feet marks even four, 

A-stead o' even twee?" 

Peter Burn. i8i 

He canna meet his faire ane's face, 

But answers nervouslie : — 
" An' gif I lee, holy Marye, 

Nea mair my helper be." 

The heart o' the sweet young lassie 

Will not be comforted ; 
Her cheeks are growen lily-white, 

A-stead o' rosy red. 

She droopeth as the lily flower, 

That lacks the gentle rain ; 
An' in the hearing o' her love. 

She maketh woefu' maen : — 

" O wae is me ! O wae is me ! 

My love has fausely sworn ; 
He bringeth shame upon my name, 

An' the baimie yet unborn ! " 

" Now greet na sae, now greet na sae !" 

Laird Dacre then spak he, 
*' The heart that's fiU'd wi' jealousie, 

Maks hawf its misery ! " 

" Listen ye to me, Laird Dacre ! 

Gif gentleman be ye, 
Ye'U mak me now ye're lawfu' wife, 

Ere I a mother be." 

1 82 Peter Burn. 

" O bide ye yet my sweet lassie, 
A month or maybe twee I" 

" O now I ken, I am undime, 
That day I'll niver see !" 

" There's blossom on the tree, lassie, 
There's better days for ye ! " 

" Worms consume the scented bloom. 
An' hidden grief kills me." 

" Yon magpie seeks anither love, 

An' lassie sae mun ye !" 
" That ane magpie that wingeth by 

Bodes sorrow unto me." 

The water it sings merrilie 

Alang the castle dean, 
The water it rins merrilie, 

The grassy banks a-tween : 

An' merrilie the birdie sings, 
A-top o' the greenwood tree ; 

But there is ane, that heareth naen 
O' the sweet harmonic. 

Peter Burn. 183 

There hes-na gaen a month, a month, 

A month but barely ane, 
Syne Dacre vow'd to fair Helen, 

An' now a wife he's taen. 

He's taen to wife a rich ladye, 

An' ane o' noble birth ; 
An' left to sorrow a' alane, 

This flower o' the north : — 

An' left to sorrow a' alane, 

This flower sae faire an' frail ; 
But he shall leive this day to grieve, 

His cnieltie bewail. 

The sun shines braw on Nawarde wa'. 

The banner towers heigh ! 
This day Laird Dacre bringeth heame 

His noble faire Ladye. 

An' there is great festivity, 

In Nawarde ha' this night. 
An' Dacre drinks the honey cuppe, 

Drinketh to his delight. 

" Drink ye, drink ye, Laird Dacre, 

An' drink to thy delight. 
The hour mixes thee a cuppe, 

That hes the serpent-bite ! 

184 Peter Btirji. 

" The hour mixes thee a cuppe, 
An' thou mun drink't thysel ; — 

That cuppe will tak thee life to suppe, 
An' may be dnmk i' hell !" 

The Summer Sun is smiling on 

The waking countrie : 
Dacre has taen his wife, an' gaen 

To hail the baronie. 

She looket east to Gilles-land, 

An' westward to the sea ; 
An' she has seen St. Mary's Vale, 

An' the grey priory. 

An' she has gaen the paths aroun', 
An' she has gaen the wood, 

An' she has gaen the wood-brig owre, 
That spans the siller flood : — 

An' she has looket up the beck, 
An' she has looket down ; 

What is it gars the ladye scream r 
AVhat is it gars her swoon ? 

What is it gars the young bridegroom 
Start backward wi' a fright ? 

O they hae seen a faire ladye, 
Clad a' i' lily-white. 

Peter Burn. \ 8 5 

The sweet thing donn'd i' Hly-white, 

r lily-white yestreen ; 
r lily-white she sleepeth now, 

Within the castle dean. 

Faire Helen donn'd i' lily-white, 

An' sat till eventide ; 
She sat an' waited lang an' leate, 

For ane to claim his bride. 

Her mother coaxed her lang an' sair ; 

Her words were a' in vain ; 
A killing smart was in her heart, 

A fire was in her brain. 

Yestreen she left her mother's roof, 

Adorn' d as a bride ; 
That mother fan' her only bairn 

Deide, by the water side. 

Sae sweetly i' the morning sun 

The bonnie creature lies ! 
It seems to ane that death had taen 

Her young life by surprise. 

I 86 Peter Burn. 

The water it sings merrilie 

Alang the castle dean ; 
The water it rins merrihe, 

The grassy banks atween : 

An' merrilie the birdie sings, 
A-top o' the greenwood tree ; 

But there are three lack sympathy 
Wi' the sweet harmonie. 

Ane is the mother o' the deide. 
She kneeleth by her side ; 

The other it is Laird Dacre, 
The third it is his bride. 

O lang an' lane that mother sits, 

Beside that water side ; 
An' lang an' lane she maks a maen, 

To Dacre an' his bride : — 

" O wae is me ! O wae is me ! 

My bonnie flower is deide — 
My J30nnie bairn — my darling bairn, 

The winner o' my breade. 

" O cursed be the cruel han', 
That wrought this hour to me ! 

May evils grim aye follow him, 
Until the day he dee ! 

Peter Burn. 187 

" The spirit o' my ain darling 

Shall haunt him night an' day ! 
Promised in life to be his wife, 

In death she'll no tak nay. 

" The spirit o' my ain darling 

Shall haunt him day an' night ! 
She fell asleep i' the clear deep, 

An' she shall walk i' white." 

The bride, she casts a wistfu' glance 

On ane that's by her side ; 
She seems to guess his wickedness, 

The thing he canna hide. 

Deide lieth the sweet young lassie. 

Beside the singing flood ; 
The bride an' bridegroom pass her by, 

When starts a stream o' blood. 

" See now, see now, my bonnie pair ! " 

The weeping mother cries, 
" My bairn speaks, her blood it reeks, 

An' rises to the skies ! " 

1 88 Peter Burn. 

The water it sings merrilie 
Alang the castle dean ; 

The water it rins merrilie, 
The grassy banks a-t^veen : 

An' merrilie the birdie sings, 
A-top o' the greenwood tree ; 

An' there is ane that lends a strain 
To the sweet harmonic. 

In summer days, an' winter days. 
In autumn days, an' spring, 

When fairies meet wi' nimble feet. 
To rin the mystic ring : 

Fleeing that gay companie, 
Wi' saintly face an' wae, 

A-wandering, an' sorrowing. 
Is seen the White Ladye ! 

Peter Burn. 1 89 

[Here first printed.] 

[The Salkeldes or Sakeldes, were a powerful family in 
Cumberland, possessing among other manors, that of Corby, 
before it came into the possession of the Howards in the 
beginning of the seventeenth century. 

A strange stratagem was practised by an outlaw caUed Jock 
Grahme of the Pear-tree, upon Mr. Salkelde, sheriff of Cum- 
berland. The brother of this freebooter was lying in Carlisle 
jail for execution, when Jock o' the Pear-tree came riding past 
the gate of Corby castle. A child of the sheriff was playing before 
the door, to whom the outlaw gave an apple, saying, "Master, 
will ye ride ? " The boy willingly consenting, Grahme took 
him up before him, carried him into Scotland, and never 
would part with him till he had his brother safe from the 
gaUows. — Nicolson and BuriCs Westmorland and Cumber- 
land. '\ 

" O whae will hae a sweet apple, 

An apple rosy fair ? " 
" O me ! " says Master William, 

The Salkelde's youthful heir. 

" O whae will hae a pony ride, — 

A pony that can nm ? " 
" O me 1 " says Master William, 

The Salkelde's only son. 

The apple sweet an' rosy rede, 

Is claspt within his han' ; 
An' Jock he taks him on his horse, 

An' rides him owre the Ian'. 

190 Peter Burn. 

He rides him owre the border Ian', 

To Scotland he is gaen ; 
In Corby ha', when shadows fa', 

There's ane 'ill mak a maen. 

In Corby ha', when shadows fa'. 

There's ane 'ill mak a maen ; — 
That ane 'ill miss her bairn's kiss. 

Her Willie cometh naen. 

Jock Grahme is to the Pear-tree come, 

An' O but he brags loud : — 
" My wark to-day 'ill bring me pay, 

An' weel may mak me proud ! " 

" What hasta dune?" says Jock Grahme's wife, 
" That gi'es thy tongue sec glee ? 

I's sair mistaen, if this strange wean 
Brings nit a wark to me." 

" Hoot ! hoot, auld wife ! this bonnie bairn 

A lucky ane will be ; 
He's mair to me than a' the gowd 

In wealthy christendie." 

Frae east to west, frae north to south, 
Laird Salkelde sends his men : — 

" Gae spier for my son William, 
Gae owre moor an' fen \ — 

Peter Burn. i g i 

" Gae owre moor, gae owtc fen, 

Gae scour the countrie, 
Baith gowd an' Ian' shall wait the man 

That brings him heame to me." 

They gae ilk day a weary way, 

Across the comitrie. 
An' heameward turn, an' sairly mourn — 

" Nae Willie do we see I " 

Ilk day they turn, an' sairly mourn — 

" Nae Willie do we see ! " 
An' O 1 their words they cut like swords 

The parents' hearts a-twee. 

Now word is brought to Corby's laird : — 

" Your bonnie son Willie 
Gaes rambling o\vre Scottish knowes 

Wi' Jock o' the Pear-tree 1 " 

" That border thief has stowen my bairn, 

An ill death he shall dee ! 
But gowd an' Ian' shall wait the man 

That brings him heame to me." 

Says ane : " Remember, bauld Buccleugh 

Hes men as gude as we ; 
An' gin we trespass on his Ian', 

Sair bloodshed there will be. 

1^2 Peter Burn. 

" Kilmont Willie, Jock o' the Side, 
.\n' Jock o' the Pear-tree, 

Are daring men, ye wdnna fin' 
Their like in christendie. 

" These followers o' the bauld Buccleugh 

Are men o' muckle might ; 
.\n' little gude 'ill won to us. 

To meet them in a fight." 

A message comes to Laird Salkelde, 
Frae Jock o' the Pear-tree : — 

" My brither is as dear to me, 
As thy son is to thee : 

" An' niver mair i' Corby ha' 

Shall thou thy bairn see, 
Till thou hast gaen my biUie dear 

His lawfiil libertie." 

In Carel Castle a' alane 
Ane sings a woefii' sang : — 

" My bairns wait me coming heame, 
Their waiting 'ill be lang. 

Peter Burn. 193 

" O niver mair i' Liddesdale 
I'll pu' the heather flower ; 

O niver mair I'll hear the tale, 
That cheers the evening hour. 

" My heart it turns to Liddesdale, 

To joys that canna be ; 
Than bide this hour o' hellish power, 

'Twere sweeter far to dee ! " 

^\Tiat years o' joy or sorrow wait 

The turning o' a key : 
It gi'es to ane a li\ang grave, 

Anither — libertie. 

The better gift is Jamie Grahme's ; 

A happy man is he ; 
He leaves the dungeon wi' a step, 

Wi' Jock o' the Pear-tree. 

An' Jock, he taks him by the han'. 
An' sings right cheerilie : — ■ 

" The Salkelde hes his son an' heir, 
I hae my ain billie !" 

O there was mirth i' Corby ha', 
To welcome Willie heame ! 

An' sae was there i' Liddesdale, 
To welcome Jamie Grahme ! 
III. 13 



[About the 2nd of February, 1863, a drunken man tumbled 
into an opening in the discharge-channel at the Workington 
new docks, where the steam pumps lift out the water at the 
rate of about 6000 gallons per minute. The force of the 
stream from the pumps discharged him through the culvert 
at one stroke, and left him at the outlet, not very much worse 
in body, but with clothes torn to shreds, and his naked back 
severely scratched by the points of the unclenched nails of 
the tidetrap.] 

HIS laal Bobby Linton gat drunk tudder day, 
An' fand his-sel misty, an' far, far astray : 
An' he wandert about, 
Sadly mayzelt na doubt. 
An' stayvelt down onta t' North Side. 
He rockt, an' he backt. 
He veert, an' he tackt, 
An' his varra best judgment appU'd. 

William Dickinson. 195 

Bit it o' waddent dea — he cuddent walk strei't 

For a. hofe-dozen steps at a time. 
He held up his heid, an' says, "Now I'll be reet, 

I'll aim at yon thing I see shine." 
That thing he saw shine was a steam-injin fire — 
It .was bleezin' away pumpin' watter for hire 
Out o' Workinton Dock, frae a varra deep sump 
Putt'n down at that spot to draw watter to t' pump. 
He knew what it was — he'd been theer afoor, 

An' thowt he ageann wad leuk in ; 
He smellt theer was danger, an' try't to leuk sour, 

An' turnt his-sel round wid a spin ; 
His spin led him wrang, for he backt into t' sump. 

" Stop t' injin ! " they shout an' they rwore. 
Befoor they could stop't he was sookt into t' pump 
An' was spew't like a frog, 
Or an oald deid dog, 
Or a worn-out clog, 
An' was laid on his back onta t' shore. 
Some navvies ran out 
In a skutterin rout, — 
" Och ! the last I seen on him was the hale of his 

An' peep't into t' cundeth to find him ; 
Bit he was laid sprawlin, 
An' sputterin, — (nit bawlin,) 
An' to clear him o' dirt they wad sind him. 

196 William Dickinson. 

They poo't him throo t' waiter an' laid him on t' 

An' turnin' him ower they gayly seun fand 
His cleazz riven ofif, an' his back roakt wi' spikes 

Stickin' oot o' t' trap dooar 

Wi' shark teeth-Uke pooar : — 
Whoiver could think o' sec likes ! 
They reetit him up, hofe alive, bit heall sober, 
As if he'd drank nowt sen t' last day of October. 
He as't "Is I seaff, ladsl rin heamm — tell my wife 
'At I'll niver git drunk o' t' days o' my life." 
You'll know by this time that Bobby gat in 
To this cundeth by rum, or by whiskey, or gin. 
An' you can't miss bit know, if you're owts of a droll, 
How laal Bobby Linton gat oot o' this whol. 


[Previous to the Cleator railway being opened, more than 
six hundred horses and carts were employed bringing iron ore 
from the mines to Whitehaven ; and the transit of ore by 
railway caused many to be out of employment.] 

Come sit thy ways down an' give us thy crack, 
I've been rayder badly an' pain't in my back : 
A crack does yan good, and I've less to dea noo 
Sen t' horses was selt an' I've nea hay to poo. 

William Dickinson. 197 

Our Jemmy says t' horses hes done us laal good. 
Takkin o' in account it's nea wonder they sud : 
For they eat sec a heap o' good things, barn, I lay 
Thou waddent behev't if I talk't for a day ! 

In dark winter mwornins, about three o'clock, 
He shoutit o' t' lads to git up ; an' begock ! 
He niver could lig a bit langer his-sel, 
For fear t' lads sud leave owt undone an' nit tell. 

An' what could I dea when he was afeut, 
Bit git up an' mak t' poddish, while he went to teut 
Amang t' horses, an' git them their crowdy an' meal; 
For how could they work if they warrent fed weell 

Than away they wad hurry to Cleator for ore, 
Wid some hay in a seek an' their best leg afwore. 
They com back o' sweat an' o' dust twice a day, 
An' t' white horse as reed as if daub't wi' reed clay. 

An' t' lads, to be sure, sec seets they com heamm ! 
Wi' sec cleazz, an' sec feaces ! it was a fair sheamm ! 
An' than, they meadd t' blankets far warse nor git out, 
For they leukt for o' t' warld like webs o' reed clout. 

198 Williayn Dickinsoit. 

Yan med wesh, barn, an' scrub till yan's fingers 

was sair, 
An' niver wad t' things in yan's hoose be clean mair ! 
T' varra hair ov yan's heid gat as reed as a fox, 
An' I couldn't wear caps — they're lock't up in a box! 

But now sen they've open't out t' railway to t' Birks,* 
We've parted wid t' horses an' cars, an' two stirks : 
Yaa lad's gitten hire't, an' I've far less to dee, 
An' tudder, nought suits him but gangin to t' sea. 

What changes it's meadd in our Hensingham street ! 
An' instead of reed muck we'll hev't clean as a peat. 
For we've Ennerdale wattert as cheap as auld rags. 
An' we'll now see laal mair ov auld cars or auld nags. 

'Twas just tudder day that yan fell down in t' street, 
'Twad ha' pitied thy heart, bam, to leuk on an' see't, 
How it groan'd as it laid till they reetit it up ! 
Than they yok't it agean an' laid at it wi' t' whup ! 

Our Jemmy, he says, if he iver gits poor. 
They'll be settin him up for a milestone, he's sure. 
But he laughs when he says't,for he'ssummat laid bye. 
An' he'll still mak a livin' as seafe as he'll try. 

* An extensive iron ore field. 

+ The water of Ennerdale lake was recently conducted to 
Whitehaven, by way of Hensingham. 

William Dickifison. 19Q 


From Dickinson! s ^^ Glossary of Cumberland Words 
and Phrases. " 

Ya neet I was takkan a rist an' a smeuk, 
An' snoozlan an' beekan my shins at t' grate neuk, 
When I thowt I wad knock up a bit of a beuk 
About t' words 'at we use in oald Cummerlan'. 

I boddert my brains thinkan some o' them ower, 
An' than set to wark an' wreatt doon three or fower 
O' t' kaymtest an' t' creuktest, like "garrak" an' 
" dyke stower," 
Sek like as we use in oald Cummerlan'. 

It tumt oot three corner't, cantankerous wark, 
An' keep't yan at thinkin frae dayleet till dark ; 
An' at times a queer word wad lowp up wi' a yark, 
'At was reet ebm down like oald Cummerlan'. 

John Dixon o' Whitten poot out of his kist, 
O' words 'at he thowt to hev prentit, a Hst : 
An' rayder ner any reet word sud be mist, 

Yan wad ratch iv'ry neuk of oald Cummerlan'. 

200 William Dickinson. 

Than Deavvy frae Steappleton hitcht in a lock, 
An' Jwony of Rougham gave some to my stock ; 
Than frae Castle Graystick a list com — frae Jock ; 
They o' eekt a share for oald Cummerlan'. 

Friend Rannelson ofiert his beuks, an' o' t' rest, 
{O man ! bit he's full of oald stwories — ey, t' best,) 
I teuk him at word, an' I harry't his nest 
Of oald-farrant words of oald Cummerlan'. 

Than naybers an' friends browt words in sa fast, 
An' chatter't an' laught till they varra nar brast, 
To think what a beuk wad come out on't at last — 
Full o' nowt bit oald words o' oald Cummerlan'. 

Than, who can e'er read it — can any yan tell 1 
Nay, niver a body bit t' writer his-sel ! 
An' what can be t' use if it o' be to spell 
Afoor yan can read its oald Cummerlan' % 


July \^th, 1859. 





AE favoured swain comes frae the fauld 
Wi' kind " Guid een" to welcome me. 
An' Jockie's lo'e to me grew cauld 
For yon proud quean o' Ardenlee. 

Our haudin, wi' its sma' kail yard 
Had charms till acres took his e'e ; 
But noo his thought is wisely wared 
Upon the lass o' Ardenlee. 

He praised our posies i' the bower, 
Sic flowers he nae place else did see ; 
Our hame-spun bang'd the country owre — 
But there is silk at Ardenlee. 

202 George Dudson. 

Our lint we spin, an' a' our woo' 
We clip frae Cheviot's twa or three ; 
An' crummie keeps our cogie fou' — 
But herds range wide on Ardenlee. 

On siller-trappin'd steeds they ride, 
An' speer o' a', but nought they gi'e ; 
They say he flunkey's weel her side, 
The braw new laird o' Ardenlee. 

When barn-yard fowl wi' eagles mate 
They may forget their birth a wee ; 
But they craw different suin or late, 
An' sae may they at Ardenlee. 

But I maunna brak my heart wi' fright ; 
Though slighted, still I'm young an' free ; 
An' chance may bring a doucer wight 
Than e'en the Laird o' Ardenlee. 

George Dudson. 203 


As ilk shepherd lad gangs by 
Wi' his hirsel air his crook, 
They steal a blink at me, 
But I cower aneath their look ; 
For I think o' ane that's gane, 
Wha lo'ed me aye sae weel. 
Till the spokes a' melt in ane, 
O' my auld spinnin' wheel. 

In my reverie sae deep 

I aften brak a thread, 

An' my Jamie comes again. 

Back frae the quiet dead. 

For I think sae aft an' lang, 

Till reason seems to reel. 

An' I'm waukened wi' the hum 

O' my auld spinnin' wheel. 

When sittin' i' the Kirk, 

Or wanderin' by the burn, 

An' ilka place I gae 

I can do nought else but mourn. 

When war's shrill note shook the glen, 

He bade a lang fareweel, 

An' my thought aft to him soars 

Frae my auld spinnin' wheel. 

204 George Dudson. 

His lilt at gloamin tide 

Is still'd for ever noo, 

An' the stranger's gory sward 

Lies heavy on his broo ; 

An' a cauld, cauld hand will soon 

On anither set it's seal ; 

O sae dowie do I pine 

At my auld spinnin' wheel. 

Ance nane wi' blither heart 
Did welcome in the mom, 
Ere the laverock pierced the cloud, 
Or the hunter wound his horn. 
An' wha will crummie milk, 
An' tent collie, faithfu' chiel, 
When the wan ghaist that sits here 
Has left her spinnin' wheel. 

There's nae daflfin at the tryst, 
An' at the hairst nae glee, 
An' sairly a' seems changed 
Frae what they used to be ; 
But there's a bower I ken 
To whilk I aften steal, 
When I grow weary twirlin' 
At my auld spinnin' wheel. 

George Diuison. 205 


My head is rinnin' roun' about 

I'm doylt and like to fa', 
An' pent up feeling seeks a vent 

'Twixt ilka breath I draw. 
Thb' threescore years this day o' grace 

It looks just like yestreen — 
It looks just like a drowsy dream 

Sin' our sweet bridal e'en. 

Although my staff maun me support 

To hirple owre the floor, 
An' sicht is dim wi' ilka help 

An' weel kent things obscure ; 
This happy date aye seems to sink 

The years that intervene, 
And the soul looks thro' the bars o' eild 

Back to our bridal e'en. 

The biggin rang wi' gleesome din ; 

Here sat — I'll no say wha — 
His hand was lockit i' my ain, 

He stately was an' braw. 
An' sidelins aft was speert that nicht ; 

Was meeter pair e'er seen ? 
He's i" the mools, an' but mysel' 

Can min' our bridal e'en ! 

2o6 George Dtidson. 

Life's sun is i' the west I ken, 

I'm fast gaun down the brae ; 
There's something tells me unco plain 

I hae na far to gae : 
But the thoughts o' auld langsyne will steal 

Across my min' yet green ; 
It looms in retrospective licht, 

The memory o' that e'en. 


My heart sinks wi' yon settin' sun 

Gaun doon amang the tide ; 
What gars me sigh at e'enin' sae, 

An' mak life ill to bide % 
O it's a' to bring back to my breast 

Yon sailor lad o' mine, 
It's a' to bring my Johnny back 

That sic saut tears I tine. 

There's but ae sang I like to sing, 

When at my rock an' reel, 
I'll tell't to nane, but it's the ane 

My Johnny lo'ed sae weel. 

George Dtidson. 207 

There's but ae form that fills my e'e 

Whene'er I sleep or wauk, 
Ae single wish that mak s me glad — 

I wish my laddie back. 

I busk me wi' a careless han', 

An' my lang yellow hair 
Nae fillet binds, an' gloamin's breath 

Sae wanton revels there. 
I dinna mourn, but when I smile 

At aught I see or hear. 
The passing pleasure's bought, I ween, 

Fu' often wi' a tear. 

The fairest fleece o' a' our flock 

For him I'll caird an' spin ; 
An' lily-white his hose shall be, 

Wi" his name knitted in. 
My Bible has twa siller clasps — 

There's meikle treasure there ; 
He mixed a flower araang its leaves. 

An' ne'er a leaf I'd spare. 

The winged light nae swifter flees 
Than lover's thought can skip ; 

An' time can mark nae space between 
Ilk message to that ship. 

2o8 George Dudson. 

My heart sinks wi' yon settin' sun, 
An' when morn gilds the main, 

Frae yon far shore may Johnny's bark 
Be seen return again ! 




[Here first printed. ] 

HED a dream, an' in me dream 
I thowt 'at I was deid, 

A winden sheet was roond me twin't, 

A neet cap on my heid ; 
An' I was in a coffin laid — 

Bit what meade aw sa queer 
Was, when I thowt 'at I was deid, 

I beath could see an' hear ! 

I thowt 'at two priests hed come in, 

To tak me seafe away, 
An' lock me up whoar I mud bide 
Till t' last greit judgment day. 
III. 14 

2IO Miscellaneous. 

Tean hed a serpleth on as white 

As enny druft o' snow, 
An' t' tudder hed a silk goon on, 

As black as enny crow. 

I saw them eye tean tudder ower 

When they com in at t' dooer, 
An' thowt theer mud be summet wrang, 

They leuk't sa parlish soor ; 
At last tbaa preest to t' tudder sed, 

" That goon o' thine's quite wrang ; 
Is that black thing a likely dress 

For whoar we hev to gang % 

" It's liker far for puttin' on 

To gang to t' pleace below ; 
What ! leuk at mine, hoo fine it is. 

As white as druftit snow : 
Just gang thee ways reet heamm agean, 

An' throw that goon away, 
An' put a serpleth on hke mine — 

Thoo's just a parfet flay ! " 

Ses t' tudder preest, " I waddent weer 

A popish thing like that ; 
Beside, thoo's gitten on thee heid 

A reg'lar Pusey hat : 

Miscellaneous. 2 1 1 

Thoo's just gaan straight on t'rwoad to Rome, 
An' that's whoar thoo'll seun be ; 

Thoo'll hev to tak them falals off, 
If thoo wad gang wi' me ! " 

They sed a gay deal mair ner that, 

An' cross eneufif, an' aw ; 
An' argee't 'at they beath war reet, 

An' sed they'd gang to t' law. 
I thowt they fratch't an' argee't on 

Till it was var' nar neet ; 
Bit mair they fratch't an' less I knew 

Which preest was narrest reet. 

An' warse nor that, when it grew dusk, 

I saw come sneaken in 
Anudder chap, wi' lang black hair 

An' yellow wrinkel't skin, 
A tail he held atween his legs, 

An' horns grew on his heid ; 
To tell me who that auld chap was, 

Theer wassent mickle need ! 

I saw t' auld thief cooer doon i' t' neuk, 

I watch't his kneavish leer, 
An' guess't he aim't to slipe wi' me 

While t' preests war fratchen theer. 

2 1 2 Miscellaneous. 

He'd meadd his-sel cockseur, na doot, 

'At seun as it was dark, 
He'd easy git me seafe away, 

While they fratch't ovver the'r sarks. 

Reet flate I was, bit cuddent shoot, 

My tongue was deid eneuf, 
For aw me een could see quite plain 

Auld Clooty's cloven heiif. 
At last some awful screech I meadd \ 

" What's t' matter % " t' auld wife sed ; 
T/iaf roos't me up, an' fain I was 

'At I was sekfe a-bed. 

Miscellaneous. • 213 


"aw mak's — an' gray pays sell't here."* 

[From Rustic Studies in the Westmorland Dialect, published 
by T. Wilson, Kendal, 1868.] 

Time deeals i' bitterer stuff by far, 

Ner gaw or bitter-allis.t 
You'll hardly finnd a spot 'at's free, 

Thack't hoos, or haw, or pallis ! 
Tho' I kent yan when I went te skooal, 

Mezzered six feet iv'ry way, 
An' that was a shop, nar Collin Croft, 

'At was keept by Barb'ry Gray ! 

That shop te me was "love's young dream," 
An' ther's "nowt i' life as siueet" — 

If Moore hed knaan on't, when he wreeat. 
He covtldn't ha'e cum' narder reet I 

* A " ho'porth of aw mak's" literally meant a "half-penny- 
worth of all sorts" of small pieces of divers coloured spice. 
" Gray pays" were dried peas, peculiarly adapted for super- 
inducing dyspepsia, as well as preparing work for the dentist. 

+ Gall, or aloes — "bitter-allis," is a very common expres- 
sion in Westmorland, as if the aloes were not sufficiently 
bitter without the adjective. 

214 Miscellaneous. 

For I've been i' love a scooar o' times 

I'll garrantee \k say, 
But nivver watter't my mooth wi' oivt^ 

Like my love for Barb'ry Gray ! 

Theear war neeah pottygraffers then, 

Or wadn't she ha'e meead a pickter ! 
Mob-cap, check-brat, an' bed-goon clean, 

Nowt leevin' could ha'e lick't her — 
She needed neeah fallals aboot, 

Nowt but her lile round tray, 
As I see her i' my mem'ry draan 

Just noo — plain Barb'ry Gray ! 

At Setterda's, or Whissenda's, 

Her stand was quite a seet, 
Her stock i' trade was aw dess'd oot, 

I' raas, on a snaa' white sheet — 
An' t' country lads an' lasses geeap't, 

Wi' wonder an' amaze. 
To think 'at mortal hands could mak', 

What was meead by Barb'ry Gray's ! 

I've hed my sheear o' shives o' keeaks 
An' stuff uncommon stunnon, 

Aye, t' varra best 'at brass could buy, 
I' Paris, as weel as Lunnon ! 

Miscellaneous. 2 1 5 

But nivver injoy'd 'em hofe as mitch, 

As a neeaf-full o' " gray pays," 
Or "ho'porth of aw mak's," sic as wer' covvpt* 

For copies, at Barb'ry Gray's. 

Thor "aw mak's" mudn't suit yan noo, 

Ner "pays" as hard as nails, 
When teeth ar' geean, or worn to t' stump, 

An' winnd, or e'e-seet fails — 
It's pleasant, tu, 'mang frost an' snaa' 

To turn tul a floo'ry May, 
An' I kna' neeah rooad as bain or breet 

As that'n by Barb'ry Gray. 

Her pigginbottoms, her brandysnaps,t 

Her gingerbreead cocks an' hens. 
An' men o' horseback deck't i' gowld. 

They haa'nt yan yet, by jens ! 
Her lick'ras — mint-keeak — toffy-sticks — 

Dal ! they're abooan aw praise — 
We nivver sail see sic a seet again. 

As t' windo' at Barb'ry Gray's ! 

* A schoolboy who was not obhged to take his copy-books 
home when completed, could have them "cowpt" or ex- 
changed for "aw mak's" or "gray pays" at Dame Barbary's. 

+ "Pigginbottoms" were heart-shap'd cakes of gingerbread 
• — "brandy snaps" were a similar compound, probably not 
altogether innocent of a little alcoholic addition, as the name 

2 1 6 Aliscellaneous. 

For deeath com' in, an' clooas'd her shuts, 

Her Urn's, an' trunk, an' aw taks, 
To his grim hooal, whar aw mun gang, 

T' auld/^//^'j- fond of " aw 7nak's" 
But I'll be bund he niver lapt 

A better body i' clay, 
'An that'n he gat when he teeak off heeam 

The body o' Barb'ry Gray ! 

September, 1866. 



Oh ! list ye to yon singing bird 

So happy on the thorn ; 
Oh ! list ye to the melody, 

That through the breeze is borne 

List to the calm sea's gentle fall 

Upon the pebbly shore ; 
List to the matron sea-bird's call, 

Out o'er the wave afar ! 

Miscellaneous. 2 i 7 

How happy is that, little bird, — 

No cares to fill its breast, 
But just to warble through the day, 

Then sweetly sink to rest ! 

It dreameth not of weariness, 

It was not born for toil ; 
And much we need its madrigals 

Life's journey to beguile ! 

In tones of mirth and gratitude, 

Methinks I hear it say — 
Oh ! let the weary-hearted take 

A lesson from my lay ! 

April lOfth, 1840. 


Minor Canon of Carlisle Cathedral. 

The feathers of the willow 
Are half of them grown yellow 

Above the swelling stream ; 
And ragged are the bushes, 
And rusty now the rushes. 

And wild the clouded gleam. 

2 1 8 Miscellaneous. 

The thistle now is older, 
His stalk begins to moulder, 

His head is white as snow ; 
The branches all are barer, 
The linnet's song is rarer, 

The robin pipeth now. 


A list of Works treating on the Subject. 

A Glossary of North Country Words, with their Etymology, 
&c. By John Trotter Brockett. First Edition. 

Ntwcastle and London, 1825 . 

Third Edition of the same work. 2 vols. 1846. 

A Glossary of the Words and Plu-ases of Cumberland. By 
William Dickinson. Whitehaven and London, 1859. 

A Supplement to the Glossary of the Words and Phrases of 
Cumberland, with Illustrative Examples. By William 
Dickinson. Whitehaven and London, 1867. 

A Glossary of the Words and Phrases of Furness (North 
Lancashire), with Illustrative quotations, principally 
fi-om the Old Northern Writers. By J. P. Morris. 

London and Carlisle, i869' 

A Glossary of the Dialect of the Hundred of Lonsdale, North 
and South of the Sands, in the County of Lancaster. 
By the late Robert Backliouse Peacock. Edited by the 
Rev. J. C. Atkinson. London and B<^rlin, 1869. 

The Dialect of Cumberland ; with a Chapter on its Place" 
Names. By Robert Ferguson. 

London and Carlisle, 1873. 


Ch., signifies that the word is used by Chaucer. 
O.E., that it is Old English. 
Sco., that it is Scotch. 



Ackward, backward 

Addle, O.E., to earn. (So 
pronounced iu Westmor- 
land and Fumess) 

Ae, one 

A-fit, on foot 

Aiblins, Sco., perhaps 

Allyblasler, alabaster 

Ambrie, a pantry 

Anent, concerning, touching 

Anenst, opposite to 

Anonder, under 

Anters, peradventure 

As-buird, ashes-board ; a box 
in which ashes are carried 

Assoyled, Ch., to be ab- 

Atomy, skeleton 

Auld or Oald, old 

Ax, Ch., to ask 


Back-chat, one person giving 
back to another words of 
contention as good as had 
been sent 

Bailies, bailiffs 

Bain, near 

Bandylan, a woman of bad 

Bang, to beat ; an action of 
haste, as, "He com in wid 
a bang " 

Bannocks, bread made of 
oatmeal, thicker than com- 
mon cakes 

Bame, O.E., a child. (In 
.Scotland and North-east 
Cumberland, pronounced 

Batter, dirt. After a fight 
one often hears the phrase. 

"He's aw cover'd wi' blood 
an' batter'' 
Bawk, a cross beam 
Beck, O.E., a brook, a 
river. Almost universally 
used in the North of Eng- 
Belyve, O.E., quickly, pres- 

Bensil, to bang or beat 

Bettermer, better 

Belder, to bellow, vociferate 

Belsh, to emit wind from the 

Bicker, a small wooden ves- 
sel ; a tumbler glass 

Bide, to endure, to stay 

Biggin, a building 

Billie, Sco., a brother, a 
tenn^of endearment 

Blackbum, Black-kite, or 
Bummel-kites, the com- 
mon bramble berries 

Black Main, payment or rent 
levied by the Border rievers 

Blate, bashful 

Bleckell, Blackwell, a village 
near Carhsle 

Blee, O.E., colour, com- 

Bodeful, Ch., ominous 

Boggle, a hobgoblin 

Bouze, to recoil 

Bow-hough'd, having crook- 
ed houghs 

Bracken, the common fern 

Brant, steep 

Bravely, in a good state of 
health ; doing well 

Brawn, O.E., a boar 

Bray, to beat 

Brees'd, bruised 

Breeks, breeches 

Bridewain or Bidden-wed- 
diu', a rustic marriage cus- 


22 1 

torn formerly very popular 
in Cumberland and North- 
umberland, to which all the 
people of the country round 
were invited. For a graphic 
description of the various 
incidents and details con- 
nected therewith, the reader 
is recommended to consult 
"The Bridewain," a dialect 
poem by John Stagg. 

Brig, bridge 

Brock, a badger 

Brong, brought 

Brunt, burnt 

Brulliment, broil 

Buck up, to advance ; to 
dress up. ' ' Hoo fine lal 
Tommy is to-day ; he's a' 
hick' tup" 

'Buin, above 

Bumly, the humble bee 

Bumm'd, struck ; beat 

Bunc'd, an action of haste, 
as, ' ' He bunc'd in amang 

Busket, O.E., dressed 

Buss, to kiss ; to dress ; a 

Butter-shag, a slice of bread 
spread with butter 

Butter-sops, bread soaked in 
melted butter and sugar 

Byre, a cow-house 

Byspel, mischievous, full of 

Caller, fresh, cool 

Carel, Carlisle 

Canny, attractive, good look- 
ing, decent (pronounced 
coniiy in Furness) 

Capper, one who excels 

Carras, a shed or cart-house 

Cat-mtted, silly and con- 

Chang, the cry of a pack of 
hounds ; the conversation 
of numbers 

Chap, a general tenn for a 

Chiel, a young fellow 

ChiUip, the cry of a young 

Claes, clothes. (So pro- 
nounced in Scotland and 
North-East Cumberland) 

Clammed, clogged up 

Clarty, miry 

Clash, tittle-tattle, scandal ; 
to throw down heavily or 

Claver, to climb 

Clay Daubin, a thatched cot- 
tage, the walls being Ijuilt 
of clay, many of which 
humble dwellings may be 
yet seen in the north-east 
of Cumberland 

Cleed, to clothe 

Cleek, to catch as with a 

Clink, a blow 

Clipt-dinment, a thin, mean- 
looking fellow 

Clipt - an' - heel'd, properly 
dressed, like a cock pre- 
pared to fight 

Clish- clash, and Chsh-ma- 
claver, idle talk, scandal 

Cluff, a blow 

Cockin, cockfighting 

Cocker, a feeder or fighter of 

Cock-mantle, to put upon or 
crow over any person 

Cockswimters ! a rustic oath 

Codageate, (Caldewgate,) a 



district ^vithin the city of 

Corbie, the carrion crow, the 

Corp, corpse 

Cotted, short tempered 

Cow'd-lword, a pudding 
made of oatmeal and suet 

Cowp, to exchange ; to upset 

Crack, to chat, to boast, to 
do anything quickly, as, 
" I's dui't in a crack'' 

Crammel, to creep or walk 

Cranch, to crush heavily \vith 
the teeth 

Crined, overdone in roasting 
or boiling. "Lasslthoo's 
crhi'd aw t' bacon till a 

Croft, O.E., a field behind 
the house 

Crouse, lofty, haughty 

Cruin, to bellow ; to hum a 

Cuddy Wulson, Cuthbert 

Cursinin', christening 

Cursty, Christopher 

Cursmas, or Kersmas, Christ- 

Curchey'd, curtseyed 

Cush ! an expression of sur- 
prise or astonishment 

Cutty, Sco., short 

Cutter'd, whispered 

Cwoley, the cur dog 


Daddle, the hand ; to work 

slowly, to trifle 
Daft, half wise ; sometimes 

it means wanton 

Daggy, drizzly 

Dander, to saimter, to wan- 
der ; anger, excitement. 
" By gocks ! lads, his dan- 
der's up : stand back or 
he'll maul ye." 

Darr ! an oath or exclamation 

Darrak, a day's labour 

Dawstoners, inhabitants of 
Dalston, a large village, 
near Carlisle ; formerly 
famous for its breed of 
game cocks, knowTi as the 
" Dawston black-reeds " 

Deave, Ch., to deafen, to 

Debateable Land, land 
claimed by two nations, as 
was formerly the case with 
large tracts of land between 
England and Scotland 

Deet, to wipe or make clean, 
as for instance to winnow 
or dress com. It is also 
used sometimes in the re- 
verse sense ; i.e., to dirty 

Deylt, moped, spiritless 

Dibbler or Dubbler, a pewter 

Din — "Mair din nor dow." 
More talk than work 

Dint, energy 

Dispert, desperate 

Dissnins, a distance in horse- 
racing ; the eighth part of 
a mile 

Div\'ent, do not 

Doff, O.E., to undress 

Dogger't, beggared. (Used 
about Aspatria when a 
schoolboy has lost all his 
marbles by playing) 

Bolder, confused. "Beath 
on us was in a queer dolder 
about t' hie lad." 



Doldrums, down-hearted, in 

Don, O.E., to dress 

Donk, damp 

Donnet, an ill-disposed wo- 

Dowly, dismal, lonely 

Downo, cannot; i.e., when 
one has the power, but 
wants the will to do any- 

Douse, a jolly looking per- 
son ; grave, prudent 

Dozen' d, spiritless and im- 

Dree, Ch., to suffer, to en- 
dure. "It's varra dree 

Duds, coarse clothes 

Dunch, to strike with the 

Dunnet, do not 

Dung owre, knocked over 

Durdem, broil, hubbub 

Durtment, any thing useless 

Dyled, stupid, silly 

Ebbem or Ebben, even 
Eddie, (Cumb.) to earn 
Eftsoons, O.E., immediately 
Egge, Ch., to incite, to urge 

Eke, O.E., also 
Elcy, Alice 
Eldin, O.E., fuel, sticks for 

the fire 
Ellek, Alexander 
Elshin, a shoemaker's awl 
Eshes, ash-trees 

Fadder, Ch., father 
Faikins ! a sort of oath 

Fallals, frippery finery 

Famish, famous 

Farrantly, orderly, well 

Faul, farm-yard 

Feckless, feeble, wanting 

Fells, O. E. , hills, mountains 

Fere, Ch., a companion, a 

Fettle, order, condition 

Fewsome, becoming 

Fit, foot ; fought 

Flacker'd, fluttered 

Flaitch, to wheedle, to coax 

Flate, frightened 

Fleeak, a flounder. (South 
Westmorland and Furness) 

Fleek, flitch 

Flegmagaries, useless frip- 
peries of female dress 

Flit, Ch., to remove 

Fluet, a stroke 

Flyre, to laugh 

Flyte, to scold 

Font, foolish, fond 

Forfoughten, O.E., tired 
with fighting 

Foorsett, to anticipate, to 
meet face to face by expect- 
ation or foreknowledge, to 
throw one's self in another's 

Forby, besides 

Fomenst, opposite to 

FoiTet, forward 

Fou, fiiU 

Erase, a fray 

Fratch, to bicker in words ; 
a quarrel ; discussion rising 
to boiling point. (An ex- 
pressive word in daily use 
in the North of England) 

Fremd, Ch., strange, unkind 

Frow, a worthless woman 



Furbelows, the useless frills, 
&c. , of a female dress 

Gaily, well in health 

Gammerstang, a tall awk- 
ward person of bad gait 

Gan, Ch., began 

Gar, O.E., to make, to com- 
pel. "I'll^arhim dealt!" 

Garrak, awkward 

Garth, O.E., a small field or 
inclosure adjoining a house; 
a churchyard ; a garden or 

Gate, road or path 

Gayshen, a smock-faced, 
silly-looking person 

Gear, wealth, money 

Girn, grin 

Girt, great 

Gizzem, gizzard 

Glead, a kite, the fork-tailed 

Glede, Ch., a burning coal 

Gleed, said of a person who 

Glent, Ch., glanced 

GlifT, glance 

Glime, to look obliquely, to 

Glowre, to stare 

Glump'd, gloomed 

Gob, mouth 

GofT or Guff, a silly person, 
a fool 

Goister, to laugh outrageously 

GoUer, to shout 

Gowd i' gowpens, gold in 

Gowk, the cuckoo ; a 
thoughtless, ignorant fel- 
low, who harps too long 
on a subject 

Gowl, to weep ; to howl 

Gradely, decent, honest, up- 
right. (Much used in 

Graith, O.E., to make ready, 
to clothe 

Grankiji', complaining 

Grousome, grim 

Grymin', a thin covering of 

Grype, a dung-fork used for 
cleaning cow-houses 

Gulder, to speak very loud 
with a dissonant voice 

Gurdle, an iron oven on 
which cakes are baked 


Hake, a rustic dance or 

Haked, weary, tired 

Ilaffet, the forehead or tem- 

Hallan, partition wall 

Hanker, to long for anything, 
to desire 

Hangrell, a long hungry fel- 

Ilanniel, a man of indifferent 

Hantel, a large quantity 

Hap, to cover 

Harrabee, the ancient place 
for hanging culprits at Car- 
lisle ; about a mile south 
from the centre of the city. 

Harry, O.E., to plunder, to 
spoil. (Pronounced Herry 
in Scotland and north-east 

Haveril, a conceited ioolish 

Havey-scavey, all in con- 

Hawer, oats 

Hawbuck, a country clown 



Havvflin, a fool 

Hay-bay, hubbub 

Heartsome, cheerful 

Heevy-skeevy, great confu- 

Heid-wark, the head-ache 

Helled, O.E., poured out 

Helter skelter, in great dis- 

Hente, Ch., to catch, to 
take hold 

Hillibuloo, to make a great 
noise or shouting at some 
particular person or object 

Hirple, to limp or walk 

Hirsel, a flock of sheep, or 
such a number as one 
person is capable of herd- 

Hoaf-thick, half-witted ; a 
tenn of contempt 

Hodden grey, cloth made 
from undyed wool. ' ' D'ye 
ken John Peel wi' his coat 
so grey f 

Hoddenly, frequently, with- 
out intermission 

Hoppled, said of horses or 
donkeys when their legs 
are tied so as to prevent 
them from wandering far 

Hotch, to shake 

Howdy, a midwife 

Howe strowe, in great con- 

Howk, to dig, to scoop 
Ho\vney, empty, dreary — 

spoken of a house 
HuUer't bleud, clotted blood 
Hulk, a clumsy, lazy fellow 
Hursle, to raise up the 

Hunsup, to scold 


I J 

Jannock, honest, true, up- 
right. (Much used in 
Funiess. ) 

Jaup, to spot, to splash over 

Jike, a squeaking noise 

Jillet, a jilt 

Ilk, O.E., each 

Infair, synonymous with 
Bride wain (?) 

Intack, an inclosure of waste 

Jobby or Jwosep, Joseph 

Iwerly, continuously 


Kaim't, cross, contradictious 

Keale, broth 

Kemp, to strive with 

Keek, to peep 

Ken-gud, an example by 
which any one may know 
what is good 

Kersmas, Christmas 

Kevvel, to leap about or 
dance in an awkward man- 

Kith, acquaintance 

Kittle, to tickle 

Knaggy, cross, bad tempered 

Knop, a large tub 

Kurn, to churn 

Kye, cows 

Laggen, the angle between 
the side and bottom of a 
wooden pail 

Laik, O.E., to play 

Lait, O.E., to look for, to 

Laird, Sco., a proprietor of 
land. In general use in 
North-east Cumberland 




and Northumberland. "A 
lai7-d o' the North Coun- 
tKey— Old Ballad. 

Lai, little 

Lalder, loud foolish talk 

Laugsome, long, wearisome 

Lant, a game at cards 

Lapstean, the stone upon 
which a shoemaker beats 
his leather 

Lash away, to proceed 
briskly. Old Harry Lons- 
dale, the Caldewgate cob- 
bler, when urging his 
parish and other appren- 
tices to do more work, had 
a great knack of saying ; 
"Lash away, lads, lash 
away ! an' I'll shiiik on ye 
when Setterday neet 
comes !" So hackneyed 
did this phrase become on 
his lips, that he is familiarly 
spoken of in Carlisle and 
the neighbourhood as 
"auld Lashy Lonsdale." 

Lassy-lad, a boy who prefers 
girls' games and conipany ; 

Laverock, Ch., the lark. 

Ledder-lungs, a noisy bawling 

Ledder-te-patch, a plunging 
step in a Cumberland 

Lee, Ch., a lie ; false 

Leet, to meet with, as for 
instance, " I leet on him." 

Leethet' lass, Lewthwaite's 

Leetsome, lightsome 

Lemman, Ch., a lover or 
gallant. The " light lem- 
man" of the old ballads 

always signifies, as the 
plarase would indicate, mis- 

Lessinge, Ch., a lie, a false 

Lidder, O.E., idle, bad 

Lig, Ch., to lie down 

Lile, little 

Limmer, O. E., mischievous 

Lirk, a fold. " Pu' up thy 
stockin's, thoo sloven ; 
they're aw lirks." 

Lish, active 

Lithe, Ch., soft, flexible 

Lock, quantity 

Lofe or Loff, offer 

Lonter, to loiter 

Loppered, O.E., coagulated 

Lounderin', large, immense 

Lout, an awkward clown 

Lowe, a flame 

Lowse, to untie 

Lownd, calm, still 

Lowp, to leap 

Lug, the ear ; to pull 

Lurry, to pull roughly ; to 
hun-y eagerly 

Lynde, Ch., the lime tree 

Lythy, thick 


Maffle, to blunder, to mislead 

Maks, sorts 

Mant, to stutter 

Man thysel ! act with the 
spirit of a man 

Map'ment, nonsense, ram- 
bling talk. (Much used in 
South Westmorland and 

M'appen, it may happen, 

March, a landmark or bound- 
ary ; as for instance, the 



border lands between Eng- 
land and Scotland 

Marrow, equal ; of the same 

Matty, the mark to pitch to 

Mavis, Ch., the thrush. 
(Jamieson says this word 
is Old English. ) 

May, Ch. , a yoimg maiden 

Mazled, stupified 

Meagrim, O.E., measured 

Meat-heal, in excellent con- 
dition ; having a good 

Mell, Ch., to meddle 

Menseful, hospitable, gene- 

Mergh, O.E., marrow 

Mess ! indeed, truly 

Messet, a small dog of a 
cross-breed ; a cur 

Mickle, large ; much 

Miter, to waste, to crumble 

Mittens, gloves 

Moilin', pining 

Moider't, bewildered, con- 

Mosstroopers, border free- 

Mowdywarp, a mole 

Mudder, Ch., mother 

Murry-neet, (merry-night,) a 
rustic ball ; a night devoted 
to festivity and amusement 

Mwort, a great quantity 


Nabob, one who after realiz- 
ing an ample fortune 
abroad, returns to his native 
district. (I am not aware 
that this word is used in 
the same sense anywhere 

rustic oaths 

except in the neighbour- 
hood of Carlisle and the 
Naigs or Nags, horses 
Nattle, to strike slightly 
Neaf or Neef, the fist 
Neet or Neeght, night 
Ne'er ak, never mind 
Nesh, Ch., soft, tender 
Nobbet, only, nothing but 
Nope, a blow 
Nowt, cattle 
Nowte, nothing 
Nowther, neither 


Oald or Auld, old 

Oddments, articles of o 
great value 

Od dal ! 

Od rabbit it ! 

Odswange ! 

Odswunters ! 

Onset, dwelling-house and 

Otterdocken, a little insig- 
nificant person 

Ousen, oxen 

Owther, O.E., either 

Paddock rud, frog spawn 

Fagged, crusted with dirt 

Pake, to thrash 

Palmered, Ch., took a pil- 

Pang'd, quite full 

Parlish, wonderful, extra- 

Pash, very wet ; to throw 
down ■with great force 

Paut, to walk heavily 

Paughty, proud, haughty 

Pawky, sly, too familiar 



Paw mair, stir more : thus 
"t' cat '11 niver paw mair," 
means, the cat will never 
stir more 

Peat, a fibrous moss used for 

Pech, to pant 

Peed, one eyed 

Pez, pease 

Pick, pitch 

Piggen, a wooden dish 

Pilgarlic, a simpleton 

Pinchbeck, O.E., a miserable 
fellow ; a watch or other 
article made of inferior 

Pipe-stoppel, the shank of a 
common clay pipe used for 

Pleenin', complaining 

Plennets, abundance 

Plack, a single piece of money 

Poapin', to walk with uncer- 
tainty. "Jwohn an' me 
vitViX. poapiti on oorsells." 

Pree, Sco., to taste 

Prick-a-louse, a contemptible 
name for a tailor 

Pricke, Ch., to spur a horse ; 
to ride quickly 

Prickly board, said of a per- 
son when his means of 
living are exhausted 

Prod, thrust 

Punsh, to kick with the feet 


Quahty, appUed to ladies 
and gentlemen 


Rackle, Ch., hasty, rash 
Ram, Ch., rank, strong, 

offensive smell or taste 
Rattens, rats 

Reavelled an' tewt, so much 
entangled that it can 
scarcely be undone 

Reed, red. (Chaucer uses 
rede. ) 

Reek, smoke 

Riever, a border freebooter 

Ricker-gate, a street in Car- 
lisle which stood outside 
the city walls, running from 
the Scotch-gate northward 

Roughness, plenty ; store 

Rowth, abundance 

Royster'd, vociferated 

Russlin, wrestling 

Sackless, originally innocent, 
guiltless ; now applied in 
the sense of feeble, useless, 
incapable of exertion 

Sairy, poor 

Sampleth, sampler 

Santer, an unauthenticated 

Sark, shirt 

Sattle, a long seat 

Scalder'd, scalded 

Scons, Sco., cakes made of 
barley meal 

Scraffle. struggle 

Scotty kye, Scotch cows 

Seccan, such 

Seevy, rushy 

Seugh, ditch 

Shaff, nonsense ; a term of 

Shandry, a light cart fitted 
up with springs 

Shem an' a bizen, a shame 
and a reproach 

Shillapple or Scoppy, the 
chaffinch. The local names 
for birds appear to be very 
capricious. Thus, for ex- 



ample, the chaffinch is 
known as the shillapple in 
the neighbourhood of Car- 
lisle, and in the parishes of 
Castle Sowerby, Grey- 
stoke, Skelton, and else- 
where ; while in West 
Cumberland the same name 
(shillapple) is applied to 
the mountain thrash or 

Shoul, shovel 

Shottle, schedule 

Shwort-cakes, rich fruit cakes 

Sicker, Ch., to make sure. 

Sinsyne, Sco., since that time 

Sith, Ch., since 

Sizle, to go about, to saunter 

Skale, to spread or throw 

Skelp, to whip or beat 

Slake, Ch., to appease ; to 
quench ; to smear 

Slape, slippery 

Slare, to walk very slow 

Slatter, to spill 

Sleenged, to go shyly and 

Sleuth-hound, the blood- 

Slipe, to slip away 

Slocken, O.E., to slake, to 

Slogan, the gathering word, 
or war-cry of the Border 

Smittal, infectious 

SnafBin', a trifling contempt- 
ible fellow 

Sneck, the latch or catch of 
a gate or door 

Sneck-posset, the door being 
shut in a person's face when 
his presence is not wanted 

Snell, bitterj biting 

Snift'rin', sniffling 

Snig, to pull a load up a hiU 
as a horse pulls a cart or 

Snod, smooth, compact 

Snurled, drawTi together ; 

Sonsy, plump and in good 

Sonsy, Sco., lucky, generous 

Souse, to plunge or immerge 

Southy, abundant 

Sowpy, soft, spongy, watery 

S pang-hew, to throw up 

Spier, Sco., to enquire 

Spink, the chaffinch. In 
central Cumberland the 
Yellow Hammer is fre- 
quently called the Spink 

Spot, a place of service 

Spunky, sparkling 

Stacker, to stagger 

Stark, Ch., stiff, stout 

Statesman, an estatesman ; 
one living on his own land 

Stayvel, to saunter about 
without any definite object 

Steek, to shut 

Stoun, a sudden and tran- 
sient pain 

Stoury, dusty 

Stowre, Ch., fight, battle 

Stowter, to walk clumsUy 

Striddel, to walk with 

Swap, to exchange 

Swashy, very swampy or wet 

Swat, to sit down 

Swayvel, to walk with an 
unsteady gait 

Swear, Sco., lazy, averse 

Swiut, diagonal, as " He 
cross't l' field rvuint ways." 

2 30 


Syke, a gutter, a stream 

Taistrel, a scoundrel 

Tam'd, ill-natured 

Tassy, nice, pleasant 

Tearan', tearing, A " tearan 
fellow" is a rough, hot- 
headed person, who drives 
every thing before him, re- 
gardless of consequences. 

Teaylear or tailyor, a tailor 

Teate, a small quantity 

Teulment, devilment 

Tew, to fatigue or distress 

Theek'd, thatched 

Thick, friendly 

Thorpe, Ch. , a village 

Thowless, not adaptable, 
nearly useless 

Threep, to argue ; to aver 

Thropple, the windpipe 

Thropwife, an apocryphal 
personage said to be always 
very throng or busy. — 
Morris' Glossary. 

Throssel, Ch., the thrush 

Tig, to strike gently 

TiU, Ch., to 

Tiper, a drinker 

Tippy-top, the highest point 

Tittermost, nearest ; foremost 

Titty, sister 

Toddle, to walk unstably as 

Toom, empty 

Toozel, to ruffle, to pull 
about rudely 

Towertly, kindly, wilhngly 

Trail, to walk slowly or lazily 

Trippet, a small piece of 
wood obtusely pointed with 
which rustics amuse them- 

Tiyst, Ch., a post or station 
in hunting ; a place of ap- 
pointment ; a fair. (Sco.) 

Tuith-wark, tooth ache 


Unket, strange, particular 


Waanly, gently, lightly 

Wae, Sco., sorrow 

Wa, dang it ! a mode of 

Waffler, waverer 
Wankle, weakly, unstable 
Wale, choice 
Wanters, persons who want 

wives or husbands 
War-day, every day in the 

week, except Sunday 
Ware, O.E., aware 
Wam't, to warrant, to assure 
Waukryfe, Sco., sleepless 
Wey ! an expression of assent; 

Webster or Wobster, weaver 
Whang, a thong ; to throw 

with violence 
Wheezlin', drawing the 

breath with difficulty 
Whelt, to beat severely 
Whey, a young cow, a heifer 

(sometimes spelt Quty) 
Whey-feac'd, smock-faced 
Whiff, a blast 
Whilk, Ch., which 
Whins, furse 
W^hinge, to weep 
Whissenday, Wliit-Sunday 
Whyles, sometimes 
Widderful, peevish, cross, 

Wiff or WifTy, Wilfred 



Wiffle, to blow all ways. 
" T' wind cus aw ways ; it 
luiffles about sooa." 

Willy- wands, the oflfshoots of 
the willow tree 

Winnick, anything small. 
Boys playing at pitch-and- 
toss with buttons, call the 
small ones "winnocks," 
and the large ones ' 'slaters" 

Winsome, O.E., lively, gay 

Worchet, orchard 

Worton, Orton, name of a 
village near Carlisle 

Wots, oats 

Wud, Ch., mad 

Wun, to dwell 

Wunnet, (contract.) will not 

Wussle or Wursle, to wrestle 

Yabble, able 

Yad, a mare 

Yak or Yek, the oak 

Yammer, to continue talking 
in a disagreeable or testy 

Yan or Yen, one 

Yat or Yett, a gate 

Yeage, age 

Yedder, a long hazel rod used 
in binding the tops of 
hedges. ' ' If thou does it, 
now, I'U g'ie the' a gud 

YeU, ale 

Youngermer, younger per- 


Biled. i., 3. 

Forth came dame Gueneur ; 
To the mantle she her biled. 

Birtled, carved or cut up (?) i., 8. 

He birtled the bores head 
Wonderous weele. 

Geavin', gapmg (?) i., 163. 

Ay, geavin' wi' thy oppen mouth 
Hett, expect (?) L, 3. 

I teU you Lords in this hall, 
I hett you all heate. 

Shreeven. i., 6. 

\\Tien shee had her shreeven 
And her sines shee had tolde. 









Gilpin, Sidney (ed.j 

The songs and ballc^ds of 
Cumberland and the Loke 
Gountrj'^ 2d ed.